Safety Around Power Lines

  • Never touch any fallen wire. Consider every wire on the ground to be energized and especially dangerous. Never assume a downed power line is insulated.
  • Never touch downed power lines or use any object to move power lines, including brooms, boards, limbs or plastic materials. Although wood is non-conductive, if even slightly wet it will conduct electricity, causing electric shock or electrocution. Power lines can also slide down such objects when lifted.

  • Do not attempt to cut or remove a tree that is, or could become, entangled with power lines. Contact your electric utility for assistance and wait for a professional tree removal crew to do the job.

  • Never touch, move, or go near any kind of downed or hanging line, even if it looks harmless. Getting near it could cause a severe injury or death.

  • Do not put your feet into a flooded street or even a puddle where a downed line is lying. In some instances, wet or snow-covered ground can conduct electricity.

  • If you see someone who has been shocked and is in direct or indirect contact with a downed power line, do not try to touch the person. Efforts to move an electric shock victim could make you a second victim.

  • Do not try to move limbs that are on or near power lines. Anything touching a downed line may be dangerous.

  • If a power line falls on a car, you should stay inside the vehicle. This is the safest place to stay under the circumstances. Honk your horn to alert passersby. Roll down the window and warn people not to touch the car or the line. Ask someone to call 911.
  • The only circumstance in which you should consider leaving a car that is in contact with a downed power line is if the vehicle catches on fire; open the door, but do not step out. Make sure that you jump completely free of the vehicle with both feet together to avoid contact with the live car (metal) and the ground at the same time. Hop as far away as possible from the vehicle keeping both feet together.

  • Never drive over downed power lines. Even if not energized, they can become entangled in your vehicle.

Brought to you by the Village of Sherburne Electric Department. Adapted from material developed by the National Weather Service.