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  • Smart Choices

Downed Power Line Safety - Always Assume Downed Lines Are Live

Photo image of a downed utility pole with snow and ice around with the words, “Stay at least 35 feet back.”
Downed power lines can energize the ground up to 35 feet away.

Downed power lines can be deadly. ALWAYS assume a downed power line is live and avoid going near it or placing anything in contact with it.

Use Precaution

  • Downed power lines can energize the ground up to 35 feet away. Even more in wet conditions.

  • Never drive over downed power lines or through water that is in contact with them.

  • Never try to move a downed power line. Even using items that typically are not conductive may cause injury or death.

  • If you see a downed line, call 911 immediately. It is helpful for you to provide your location as accurately as you can describe.

If a Vehicle Contacts a Power Line or Utility Pole, Stay Away and Call 911

  • Consider all lines to be live and dangerous.

  • Stay in place or inside your vehicle unless you see fire or smoke.

  • Warn others to stay at least 35 feet away.

  • Tell others not to approach the vehicle, downed lines, or anything that may be in contact with downed lines.

In the Event of Fire or Smoke

  • Do not touch the ground and vehicle at the same time.

  • Jump from the vehicle with your feet together.

  • Shuffle or hop away; avoid lifting your feet. When you are a safe distance away, proceed to call 911.

Knowing what to do if you encounter utility poles or wires can be a matter of life and death for you, your loved ones, or anyone who responds to help.


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