Downed Power Lines & Electrical Emergency
Always assume a downed wire is carrying electricity, which can severely injure or kill you.
Downed Power Lines
Touching a power line can cause serious injury or death. You can't tell by looking whether a line is "live" or "hot" or not. Even if a downed line isn't actively sparking, always assume it is carrying electricity.
- Stay at least 30 feet away from any downed power line, and don't go near the pole or anything touching the line.
- Call 911 immediately if a power line is down. (Note: please use this option only if you actually see a downed wire. Do not assume that because your power is out there must be a wire down somewhere.)
- Warn others to stay at least 30 feet away from the line until help arrives. Keep pets away, too.
Customers with a communication disability can report a downed wire using the appropriate TTY/TDD relay service.
Other tips for staying safe around downed power lines
- If a downed line is near water - even a small puddle - keep well away.
- Be careful not to stand under damaged tree limbs or power lines. Tree limbs can become weakened during a storm but not fall until several hours or days later. The same can be true for damaged power lines or poles.
- Don't drive or walk over downed power lines.
- If a wire falls on a vehicle, passengers should stay inside the vehicle until help arrives.
- Downed power lines that come in contact with a vehicle create a dangerous situation. Do not touch the vehicle. Call 911 immediately to report it.
Report electrical emergencies by contacting 911 immediately. It's important to provide the exact location when reporting an electric emergency. Please provide the following information:
- The nature of the emergency and whether personal injury or danger is involved
- The town, street name and house number
- The nearest cross street and direction (north, east, south or west) from the location
- The pole number, if you can safely view it
- The phone number or the nearest phone number at the location if available
- If the emergency is on private property, please give the location (front, side or rear).
Other Safety Tips:
- When hauling a boat, make sure it clears overhead power lines and stay away from power lines when sailing.
- Stay away from electric company equipment where warning signs are posted, such as at a substation. Do not climb a substation fence under any circumstances, and warn children to stay away.
- Don't shoot at or otherwise damage insulators on utility poles. This is extremely dangerous and against the law. Insulators keep electricity from traveling down the pole. If an insulator is broken off or damaged, anyone coming in contact with the pole could be injured or killed.
Learn what to do in the event of an electrical fire or electrical accident.
State Emergency Management Agencies
For more emergency contacts, visit your state's Emergency Management Agency, with links to local Offices of Emergency Management:
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