Thankfully, downed power lines aren’t common.
When lines do get knocked down, though—usually due to severe weather or vehicle accidents—they pose a serious potential danger. Even if a downed line doesn’t hum, spark or “dance,” it can still be carrying dangerously powerful live electric current.
That’s why it’s important to keep a few tips in mind when encountering downed power lines:
1. Move away from downed lines and anything in contact with them. Don’t panic—shuffle away with small steps, keeping both feet together and on
the ground at all times.
2. As a general rule, try to remain at least 35 ft away from the downed lines.
3. Don’t touch any person, animal or object in direct contact with a downed line. Call 911 instead.
4. Never touch or try to move a downed line, including with an object like a broom or stick.
5. Avoid driving over downed power lines.
6. If you’re inside a vehicle in contact with a downed line, don’t attempt to get out unless a fire occurs. Honk your horn for help, but tell others to stay away, and call 911 if possible.
7. If a fire does occur in a vehicle in contact with downed lines, jump out without touching any wires or the vehicle’s exterior. Land with your feet together, and shuffle away without removing your feet from the ground.
8. If you see a downed power line, call 911 and GVEC at 800.223.4832.