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Safety tips that can save your life

Do you or your children know what to do if there’s a downed power line?

May is a time where we are even more mindful of safety because it is Electrical Safety Month. Thousands of people in the U.S. are critically injured and electrocuted as a result of electrical fires, accidents and electrocution. Many of these accidents are preventable.

Do your loved ones know what to do if there’s a downed power line? We hope you never have to use this information, but if you do, it could save a life.

If your car hits a utility pole

If a car collides with a utility pole, the vehicle may be charged with electricity. Anyone exiting the car could come in contact with thousands of volts of electricity from the downed line. In essence, when you step out of the car, you become part of the electricity’s path to the ground and could be electrocuted.

It’s critical to stay in the vehicle and tell others to do the same until emergency crews have told you it’s safe to exit the car.

If the vehicle is on fire or you must exit for other safety reasons, jump clear of the vehicle. Do not let any part of your body or clothing touch the vehicle and ground at the same time. Land with your feet together and shuffle away (in small steps with your feet still together) to avoid electric shock. Keep moving away until you are at least 40 feet from the vehicle. 

If another car hits a utility pole

If you come upon a car accident involving a utility pole and downed power lines, keep your distance. A downed power line can energize the ground up to 35 feet away. While your natural instinct may be to rush to the car to help, instead pause. Do not approach the car or scene of the accident. Tell others to stay away.

While you may be concerned about injuries to those involved, the best action you can take is to alert emergency officials, who will in turn coordinate with the power provider.

For the same reasons described above, never drive over a downed power line or through water that is touching a downed power line.

If you have a downed power line

If you have a downed power line on your property as a result of a falling tree, storm or other circumstance, do not go near the power line. Assume that the downed line is energized and dangerous. Never try to move the power line even if you think it’s not energized or if you are using a non-conductive material.

We recognize that you may be anxious to clear your property of tree limbs or other debris near the downed line, but please wait until after an electric co-op crew or emergency officials have confirmed that it is safe to do so.

We know firsthand how dangerous electricity is because Kentucky’s electric cooperatives work with it all day, every day. It is no accident that safety is our top priority.


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