People, cars, and power lines don’t mix. Unfortunately, automobile accidents or extreme weather events can bring them together. When an overhead power line is down, anything it contacts may become electrified—including the ground. Touching or stepping anywhere near these areas puts first responders in danger of electrocution, whether you are moving toward or away from the area. Walking through an affected area is particularly dangerous, as each footfall may land in different voltage zones—causing a fatal charge to travel up one leg and down the other.
Always assume that a downed wire is energized and contact BEC immediately. Once the line has been de-energized, BEC personnel will notify first responders that it is safe to perform rescue and recovery, traffic control, and other important tasks.
In the event of an automobile accident involving power poles or electricity lines, follow these steps:
- Stay back and warn others to stay back.
- Make sure all vehicle occupants stay inside until BEC has arrived to de-energize the lines.
- If the equipment is operable and can be safely moved out of contact without doing additional damage to the line or poles, ask the driver do so.
- In the event of fire, instruct the driver and any passengers to jump clear of the vehicle, making sure not to touch the car and the ground at the same time. Then, hop with both feet together to move farther away.