Nearly everyone knows not to touch a downed power line, but you might not know that you do not have to touch a power line to be in danger. High-voltage electricity can jump to anyone who gets too close.
Anytime you’re working or playing outside, stay at least 10 feet away from power lines and their connections. Look up before raising a ladder or pole, and use wooden or fiberglass ladders outdoors. Avoid using metal ladders because they conduct electricity.
Downed Power Line Safety Tips
- If you see a downed power line, move away from it and anything touching it.
- The ground around power lines—up to 35 feet—can be energized.
- You cannot tell whether a power line is energized just by looking at it. Assume that all downed power lines are live.
- The proper way to move away from the power line is to shuffle away with small steps, keeping your feet together and on the ground at all times. This will minimize the potential for a strong electric shock.
- If you see someone who is in direct or indirect contact with the downed line, do not touch the person. You could become the next victim. Call 911 for help.
- Do not attempt to move a downed power line or anything else in contact with it by using an object such as a broom or stick. Even nonconductive materials such as wood or cloth can conduct electricity if even slightly wet.
- Be careful not to touch or step in water near a downed power line.
- Do not drive over downed power lines.
- If your vehicle comes in contact with a downed power line while you are inside, stay in the vehicle. Honk your horn to summon help, but direct others to stay away.
- If you must leave your vehicle because it is on fire, jump out with both feet together and avoid contact with both the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Shuffle away from the vehicle.