August 30, 2022

What to do around downed power lines

Power lines are all around us, whether on public land or running into our homes. These lines carry high voltages of electricity and are extremely dangerous – coming in contact with them can cause severe injury or death.

But there are times when inclement weather, high winds, fallen trees, construction, or vehicle collisions can down power lines.

What to do around downed power lines

It’s important to know what to do in these situations.

  • First and most important is to NEVER touch a power line or anything it has contact with, even with a stick or other object as these can act as a conductor.
  • If the downed power line is in the road, don’t drive over it with your car.
  • Always assume the line is energized or “live” and get a safe distance away from it, at least 10 meters or 33 feet as the ground becomes energized. Be sure to keep children and pets away as well.
  • Look for signs of fire and if you see any, call 911.
  • If it is not an emergency, call Elexicon Energy at 1-866-579-6819 to inform us of the downed line.

When children are old enough, it’s a good idea for parents to teach them about electrical safety and what to do if they encounter downed power lines.

If power lines fall on your car

In the event of a traffic collision or other incident that causes power lines to fall on your car, you should stay in your vehicle if you can do so safely. Call 911 and wait for the electricity to be shutdown so emergency personnel can help you out. Tell people outside to keep clear of the car as the electricity can arc if they get too close.

If there is smoke or fire and it is not safe for you to stay in the vehicle, you will need to get out. However, the car acts a conductor and if you step on the ground while you’re still in contact with the car, electricity can flow through your body. Here is how to exit the car:

  • Remove or tuck in loose clothing so it does not get caught on the steering wheel or door handles.
  • Only touch the handle to open the door.
  • Try to stand in the car so you can jump away from the vehicle with your arms and elbows close to your body. It is important that nothing on you touches the car and ground at the same time.
  • Jump as far out from the car as possible and land with your feet together, touching the ground at the same time.
  • Shuffle away from the car, ensuring that both feet maintain contact with the ground.