Cooperative Review - August 2018
Vol68-8 August 2018

Use caution around downed power lines

For your safety, it’s important to know how to identify a potential hazard and to know what actions to take during emergency situations involving electric utility lines or equipment.

Downed power lines

Downed power lines

Always assume that a downed line is live or could become live again at any time. Follow these steps to stay safe and help keep others safe.

Call 911 Immediately call for help. Without delay, call for the Emergency Communication Center (911) and report the situation.
Stay a safe distance away from power lines Stay safe! The general rule of thumb is to stay 10 feet away for distribution voltages and 30 feet away for transmission voltages. Not sure? Stay the maximum distance away.
Secure the area Make the area safe. While maintaining a safe distance from the lines or equipment, mark the hazard for other members of the public. If necessary, block access to the hazard, especially where the lines or equipment fall across common paths of travel (roadways, sidewalks, etc.).

Watch our video: Stop! That line may be energized

Downed power lines

Vehicles in contact with downed lines or electrical equipment

If you see an accident involving utility poles or utility equipment and the vehicle is or may become energized, immediately call the Emergency Communication Center (911) to report the situation. A SMECO crew will arrive to de-energize the equipment. From a safe distance, you can instruct the vehicle occupants how to stay safe.

Is there a fire or immediate threat to the vehicle’s occupants?

Advise occupants to stay inside the vehicle until the equipment is confirmed de-energized by a qualified SMECO employee.
Can they drive the vehicle?
Advise them to drive their vehicle forward or backward until they are clear of the electric utility equipment. Once they are at least 30 feet away from all lines or equipment, they may exit the vehicle. Do not approach downed lines or equipment.
They will need to exit the vehicle carefully. Tell them to:
  • Position themselves on a flat surface of the vehicle that allows them to leap as far away as possible.
  • Land with both feet on the ground without stumbling.
  • Shuffle their feet with both feet continually touching the ground until they are at least 30 feet from the vehicle.
  • Stay away from the vehicle and not go back under any circumstances until the vehicle and equipment are deemed de-energized.

Watch our video: Vehicle Accidents and Live Power Lines - You just hit a utility pole. Now what?