What Should You Do When Encountering Downed Power Lines?

By Roy L Hales

Ever wondered what to do in an emergency situation? Cortes Island’s Emergency Preparedness and Awareness Fair was an excellent venue  to ask the experts.  At the BC Hydro booth, I asked, Hannah Wilson and Katherine Macdonald, “What should you do when encountering downed power lines?”

When Encountering Downed Power Lines

“Firstly, when you see a downed power line on the ground, you want to make sure that you are ten meters away. That’s the minimum we recommend, to be safe. If you are not at that ten meter away safe place, you want to make sure that you are putting your knees together and feet together and you are shuffling away. You’re not going to pick your feet up off the ground, giving the voltage a chance to exit through your body,” said Wilson.

If The Power Line Comes Down On Your Car

“Also, if a power line drops on your car, you want to open your door and jump out with both feet. You want to make sure that you do not have one foot in the car and one foot on the ground, allowing the electricity to travel. Then you shuffle away, just how I showed you before.”

McKenzie added, “If you are able to drive away, you are also safe to do so – even if the line is touching your car. And if there isn’t smoke or fire, you can simply stay in the car and call 911.”

Photo Credit: Hannah Wilson (l) and Katherine MacDonald of BC Hydro at the Cortes Island Emergency & Awareness Fair – Roy L Hales photo

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