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Live Wires: The Dangers of Downed Power Lines

Storms and severe weather can leave quite an impression. Fallen trees, loose shingles, scattered patio furniture – are all reminders of the chaos left behind. However, nothing quite compares to the damage and hazard caused by a downed power line.

The most important thing to remember: Always assume all downed lines are LIVE! Sometimes there is no clear way of telling if a line still is energized, which makes it even more deadly. Following these simple rules can ensure you remain safe and sound – and shock free!

  • If you see a downed line call 911.
  • Use precaution! Downed power lines can energize the ground up to 35 feet away. Even more in wet conditions.
  • Never drive over downed power lines or through water that is in contact with them.
  • Never try to move a downed power line. Even using items that typically are not conductive will not prevent injury or death.
  • If there is something (even if it’s a person) touching a downed powerline, do NOT touch it. Call 911.
  • The proper way to move away from a power line is to shuffle with small steps, keeping your feet together and on the ground. This will minimize the potential for electrocution.
  • Stay away from a downed power line that is wet or submerged in water.

If your home or neighborhood experiences a downed power line, it’s always best to contact your utility company, fire department or a Mister Sparky electrician to make sure the electricity is truly disconnected. For more downed power line safety tips, visit ESFI.org or contact your local Mister Sparky.