Downed Power Lines
Downed power lines are no strange sight in Atlanta, Georgia. With all of our flash storms, unpredictable tree falls etc., they happen quite often. Downed power lines can be the result of fallen trees, high winds, bad storms and even vehicle crashes. In the United States, a significant number of workplace deaths are attributed to downed power lines and electrocution. Many tragic non-work related deaths occur yearly from downed power lines as well. Downed power lines are quite a bit more dangerous than most understand. Being aware of the danger and appropriate precautions can save your life!
Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to electrical safety in the home and workplace. They list several excellent precautionary tips that are crucial regarding downed power lines.
Precautions to take around downed power lines:
- A Downed power line can energize the ground up to 35 feet away!
- If you see a downed power line, immediately notify local authorities
- Never drive over power lines or through water that come into 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
ESFI Recommends what to do when near downed power lines:
- Shuffle your feet, keeping them together and touching the ground to move away from the dangerous lines. If you lift your feet, or separate them, the electricity can arc to and from the ground and through your body!
- If you are in your car, in the midst of down power lines, stay in your car. Don’t touch any metal parts of your car. It is a myth that your rubber tires insulate the car from electricity. Use your cell phone to call for help. Honk the horn to get peoples attention but do not call them closer!
- To get out of the car, open the door without touching metal
- Jump out, hitting the ground with both feet
- Shuffle to get away from the area
It is crucial to stay away from someone in contact with a downed power line until the line is de-energized. Absolutely call 911. Perform CPR if necessary until the next level of care arrives.
Remember- your safety comes first!
Be prepared – Learn CPR and First Aid!