What to Do When You See a Downed Power Line
The modern age is something that everyone has gotten used to. Pretty much everyone expects all of their technology to work the minute they need it. People often forget everything that goes into making even the simplest bits of technology work. Everything nowadays runs off electricity and getting it to where it is needed is a monumental undertaking.
Electricity doesn’t just come out of thin air. A lot of effort goes into producing and transferring electricity from where it is generated to wherever it is needed. The best, and most common, way to transfer electricity is through power lines. Composed of metal cables, power lines are capable of transferring large amounts of electricity over large distances. For the most part, these methods work great, but every once in a while things go wrong.
The Dangers of Downed Power Lines
While it is rare that power lines go down, it is possible. This is especially true when the weather gets rough with winds and/or storms.
Despite what movies and television shows depict on the screen, downed power lines typically will not spark and sputter. There is no huge display of electricity. Instead, the cord will just sit there and look like it is perfectly safe. However, it is anything but. As mentioned earlier, power lines carry a whole lot of electricity through them. The flow does not stop just because the line is broken.
A person should never go near or touch a downed power line. If they do, the electricity can flow through the person and severely injure or kill them. Drivers should also be wary of downed power lines and avoid them at all costs. If a power line falls onto a car, do not get in or out of the vehicle. The vehicle can become charged with electricity and if the person steps out of the vehicle, they will ground the system and all of that energy will flow out of the car, through the person, and into the ground.
If a person is in their vehicle when the power line falls on it, they need to remain in the vehicle until professional help arrives. If a person comes across a downed power line, they should keep their distance, at least 50 feet away, but stay in the area to make sure that anyone else who comes by knows of the downed line.
The bottom line is that people need to avoid downed power lines and report them immediately.
Reporting Downed Power Lines
When a person finds a downed power line, they should immediately call the local utility company or 911. Alert them to the problem so they can send experts to come deal with the situation.
If the event occurs during a period of high wind or bad storms, be prepared for a slower response. There could be several downed power lines that all need to be dealt with. Just remain calm, make sure people keep a safe distance from the line, and patiently wait for help to arrive. People should never try to fix the problem on their own.
Keep Your Distance and Report It
Power lines are such an integral part of life for everyone. Without those transmission lines, homes would not have the power people need within them. This is why power lines are such common sights in the modern world.
While it is rare that power lines break and become downed, this does happen from time to time. It is important for everyone to be aware of this fact, and to know what to do in the event they ever come across a downed line. While they may not look dangerous, a person should stay at least 50 feet away and immediately report the downed line to the local utility company or to emergency services at 911.
- On January 21, 2020