Safety Around Powerlines
Severe weather happens year-round. Tornadoes, winter ice storms, and other weather events can seriously damage power lines and other electrical equipment. Storm damage causes dangers that lurk after a storm has passed.
When you see power lines on the ground following a storm, stay away, warn others to stay away and contact the electric utility. Lines do not have to be arcing or sparking to be live. Any utility wire, including telephone or cable lines sagging or down could be in contact with an energized power line making they also very dangerous, so stay away from all of them.
Be alert to the possibility that tree limbs or debris may hide an electrical hazard. A downed power line can energize things around it, such as chain link fences and metal culverts. Keep in mind that a line that’s indeed “dead” could become energized during power restoration efforts or improper use of generators.
If you are driving and come upon a downed power line, stay in your vehicle, warn others to stay away and contact emergency personnel or the electric utility. Never drive over a downed line. It could cause poles or other equipment to come crashing down. If you are in a car that has come in contact with a downed power line, stay in your vehicle. Wait until the utility has arrived and de-energized the line. Warn others not to approach the car. If you must leave your car, only in the case of fire, jump free from the car and hop away from it with both feet together.