As your local utility provider, we are committed to keeping your neighbors, family, and friends safe when they work or interact with us. Through safety checklists, protective equipment, and continuous training, our mission is to meet all safety requirements before undergoing a task.
To stay safe and protect yourself, check out the resources on this page.
VEHICLE ACCIDENTS WITH POWER LINES
Guidelines from SafeElectricity.org
Instincts can help us to avoid danger but in some situations, our natural inclinations can lead to tragic results. If your car hits a utility pole or otherwise brings a power line down, getting out of a vehicle, with few exceptions, is the wrong thing to do until the line has been de-energized. Know the right steps to take to save your life:
- You are almost always better off to stay in the car, especially if the line is in contact with the vehicle.
- Call or signal for help. It is safe to use a cell phone.
- Warn others who may be nearby to stay away, and wait until the electric utility arrives to make sure power to the line is cut off.
- If the power line is still energized and you step outside, your body becomes the path to ground for that electricity, and electrocution is the tragic result. Wait until the electric utility arrives and shuts off the power.
- The only exception would be if fire or other danger, like the smell of gasoline, is present. In that case, the proper action is to jump—not step—with both feet hitting the ground at the same time. Jump clear. Do not allow any part of your body to touch the vehicle and ground at the same time. Hop to safety, keeping both feet together as you leave the area. Like ripples in a pond or lake, the voltage diminishes the farther out it is from the source. Stepping from one voltage level to another allows the body to become a path for that electricity.
- Even if a power line has landed on the ground, there is still the potential for the area near your car to be energized. Stay inside the vehicle unless there is a fire or an imminent risk of fire.
- The same rules apply with situations involving farm equipment and construction equipment that comes in contact with overhead lines. Those working with large equipment should stay inside the vehicle if equipment extensions come in contact with power lines.
DOWNED POWER LINES
Guidelines from SafeElectricity.org
Accidents, severe storms, and other disasters can cause power lines to come down. With one wrong move before, during, or after a disaster, a life can be lost. Know the right steps to take to keep you and your family safe:
- If you see downed power lines, or other damaged electrical equipment, notify the local electric utility as soon as possible because the lines could still be live.
- Just because power lines are damaged does not mean they are dead. Stay away, and instruct others to do the same.
- Power lines do not have to be arcing or sparking to be live and dangerous.
- Downed power lines, stray wires, and debris in contact with them all have the potential to deliver a fatal shock. Stay clear of fallen power lines and damaged areas that could hide a hazard. Be alert during clean-up efforts.
- Treat all power lines as if they are energized until there is a certainty that power has been disconnected.
- If a power line has landed on the ground, there is the potential for the area nearby to be energized. Stay far away, and warn others to do the same.
- Do not attempt to drive over a downed power line.
- If you are driving and come along a downed power line, stay away and warn others to stay away. Contact emergency personal or your utility company to address the downed power line.
- If power lines should fall on your vehicle while you are driving, do not attempt to drive away or get out. Call for help, and stay inside until utility crews say it is safe to get out. The only exception would be if fire or other danger, like the smell of gasoline, is present. In that case, the proper action is to jump—not step—with both feet hitting the ground at the same time. Jump clear. Do not allow any part of your body to touch the vehicle and ground at the same time. Hop to safety, keeping both feet together as you leave the area.
- Any power line that is dead could become energized at any moment due to power restoration or backup generators.