Power lines that are commonly seen in residential areas are not insulated and contain at least 7,000 volts. One should never be in close proximity to a power line that is hanging low or lying on the ground. Even if the line is not sparking the line is still not safe to touch or be near.
If a power line is down, take precaution and follow these six rules:
- Stay at a minimum of 50 feet away from a downed power line. Note, the voltage traveling across the ground around a downed line can be deadly.
- If you find yourself close to a downed power line, keep your feet together and shuffle or hop away to a safe distance.
- Never touch or go near anything that is in contact with a power line. Items such as: fences, trees, limbs, vehicles, etc. could become energized. Never drive over a downed power line or try to move one with a stick, pole, pipe, etc.
- Remember, if your power is out it still does not mean a downed line near you is de-energized.
- Always let utility employees remove anything touching or close to a power line. Removing a limb or tree from a power line will not make your power come back on.
- Keep in mind, a downed power line can become energized at any time. Just because it was de-energized earlier does not mean it will stay de-energized. For example, an improperly wired generator from your home or a neighbor’s can energize a downed power line to full voltage.