There are a variety of ways a power line can come down including severe winds, natural disasters, and even an auto accident. The reason the power line is down isn’t important. The important part is knowing how to stay safe when you find a downed power line.
Don’t assume that just because the downed power line isn’t sparking or because it’s coated with rubber that it’s safe. When it comes to power lines, always act like it’s a live wire and that touching it will result in a fatal shock. Power lines aren’t something you should ever take a chance on.
As soon as you spot the downed power line, you need to change the way you move. Instead of lifting your feet when you walk, start shuffling. Keeping your feet, especially if you’re wearing rubber-soled shoes, on the floor increases the odds of your remaining grounded and safe from the electricity.
Most people assume that the damaged power line is the only dangerous thing. It’s not. When a power line goes down, the electricity actually fans out, which means that anything in the area could potentially deliver a deadly shock. Stay at least 100 feet, the length of two semi-truck trailers, away from the line and don’t touch a single thing. The further you are from the line, the safer you are.
Immediately call 911 rather than the power company. Not only will 911 alert the power company for you, but they will also contact the police and fire department so that the area can be safely and legally blocked off.
As long as you are safe, remain in the area. Your responsibility while you wait for the proper authorities to arrive is to warn anyone who approaches of the danger and prevent them from coming into contact with any stray voltage.