May is Electrical Safety Month. This month, we share a few safety tips that we hope you never have to use. But if you do, they could save your life.
If a car hits 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 for everyone to stay in the vehicle 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 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. The best action you can take is to alert emergency officials. Also, never drive over a downed power line or through water that is touching 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. Please wait until an electric co-op crew or emergency officials have confirmed that it is safe to do so.