Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Get HelpDowned Power Line Hazards

Downed Power Line Hazards

In the face of a dangerous encounter with downed power lines, knowing the right steps can save lives - here's what to do if you find yourself in this situation.

Immediate Dangers and Instant Decision-making

When a power line crashes down, it can charge the surrounding area with deadly electricity. If you are in a vehicle and a downed power line touches you, the situation is critical, and your response must be immediate and correct.

Steps to Stay Safe Inside a Vehicle

Do Not Exit

Remain inside your vehicle unless it catches fire. Exiting incorrectly may result in an electric shock. Wait for emergency crews to cut off the power and assist you.

Call for Help

Dial 112 to inform local utility companies about the downed power lines. Emergency services are equipped to handle such situations safely.

If You Must Exit the Vehicle

Do Not Touch

Avoid contacting the vehicle and the ground simultaneously. Contact with both can provide a path for electricity, leading to severe injury or death.

Jump Out Safely: If escape is necessary, jump clear of the vehicle, ensuring not to touch it and the ground simultaneously.

Land with Feet Together

Jump so your feet land simultaneously on the ground. This position helps to minimize the path of electric current and reduces the risk of electrical shock.

Shuffle or Hop Away

Once you’re clear from the vehicle, shuffle away with small steps, keeping both feet on the ground, or hop with both feet together to not create a circuit for electricity to flow.

Stepping With Both Legs

Stepping with both feet together on a wet floor in the presence of electricity is crucial due to a phenomenon known as “step potential.” When electricity from a downed power line enters the ground, it spreads outwards from the point of contact. The voltage diminishes with distance from the source, creating a gradient. If your legs are apart, one foot could be in an area with a higher voltage than the other, and electricity could flow through your body as it seeks to move between regions of different voltages, potentially causing severe injury or death.

Keeping your feet together minimizes the risk of creating a path for electrical current to travel through your body. The goal is to ensure that both feet have the same electrical potential, thus preventing a dangerous electrical circuit from forming through you. Wet conditions exacerbate this risk because water is a good conductor of electricity, increasing the chance of electric shock. Therefore, in such a scenario, shuffling your feet without lifting them off the ground is the safest way to move away from a downed power line.

General Outdoor Safety Tips for Downed Power Lines:

Remember, your safety and the safety of your passengers depend on your knowledge and composure during these critical moments.

For more information and assistance – dial 112 to reach emergency services.

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