What to Do if You Spot a Downed Power Line
If you see a downed power line, stay very far away and be sure to follow these tips:
- It's always best to assume all downed lines are energized. Downed power lines can hurt or kill you, even if they do not spark, hum, or "dance." Stay away from anything that is touching the line, like a tree, fence, vehicle, etc. Call 911 and the electric company to report the line. Do not touch someone who is being shocked by a downed line—you could be killed!
- Watch for downed lines after storms. Downed lines are most common after storms and high winds. If you are outside after a storm, be alert for lines that may be hard to see in streams or puddles.
- Shuffle, don't run, from a downed line. Shuffle with your feet together and on the ground. Fight the urge to run, and warn others not to run. This is because when a live wire touches the ground, electricity travels through the ground in all directions. Voltage lessens as it travels from the center where the live wire is touching the ground. If you run or take large steps, you increase the chance that electricity could come up one leg and go out the other, and you could be shocked.
- Stay far away from downed power lines. Even those that are not sparking or humming can still be live with electricity.
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