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Downed Power Lines

Downed lines can be dangerous - even if they aren't humming or moving. If you see one, stay back from the line and anything it's touching. Call 911 and the electric company to turn off the power.

  • If you're on the ground, stay on the ground.
  • If you're in your vehicle or equipment, stay put until help arrives.
  • If you can move the equipment away from the lines, move it.


If you have to leave the vehicle because a life-threatening situation, jump, with both feet together. Then hop with both feet together until you're safely away. 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.

Never step down or touch the ground and the piece of equipment at the same time. This creates a path for the electricity to travel and that path is you.

If you hit a power pole, the right reaction can save your life

An icy patch on a rural road sends your car careening toward the ditch, where a power pole stands directly in its path. The impact breaks the pole. Power lines fall. Shaken but unhurt, your first reaction is to get out of the car.

Stay inside the car, call 911 and wait for crews to arrive to de-energize the lines. By stepping outside, you become the path to ground for electricity if the fallen power lines are energized. Electrocution could be the tragic result.

If your car is on fire and you must get out, jump clear without touching the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Then hop, with your feet together, as far from the vehicle as you can. If other motorists stop to help, warn them to stay away from your car and the power lines.

Always assume power lines are energized and a frightening crash won't become a life-changing tragedy.




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