We live in an area prone to power line failure. Power lines can fall due to many different reasons including vehicle accidents, falling trees, earthquakes, floods, fires, storms and wind events to name a few. If you encounter a downed power line keep away. Downed power lines do not need to be arcing for them to be live, and you can be killed by not even touching the lines.
During times, when multiple power lines fall, the Fire Department does not have the staffing to stay at each one. We typically will respond to the power line down, report it to PG&E, mark a safe area around the power line with yellow caution or red danger tape, and move on to the next one. Do not remove warning tape, drive through downed wires, attempt to move power lines, walk through them or remove trees entangled in power lines. Treat all power lines as live!
What to Do If You See a Downed Power Line
Never, ever touch a downed power line or go near one. Power lines are not insulated like power cords. Always assume the power line is live.
- Don’t touch a fallen power line or anything touching the wire.
- Do not touch anything or anyone in contact with a fallen power line or other equipment.
- Keep children and pets away from fallen electric wires.
- Do not drive over a fallen power line.
- Call 911 immediately to report a fallen power line.
What to Do If a Power Line Touches Your Car
If your vehicle comes in contact with a downed power line:
- Stay inside! The safest place is in your car. The ground around your car may be energized.
- Honk the horn, roll down your window and yell for help.
- Warn others to stay away. Anyone who touches the equipment or ground around the vehicle may be injured.
- Use your mobile phone to call 911.
- Fire department, police and PG&E workers will tell you when it is safe to get out of the vehicle.
- If there is a fire and you have to exit a vehicle that has come in contact with downed power lines:
- Remove loose items of clothing.
- Keep your hands at your sides and jump clear of the vehicle, so you are not touching the car when your feet hit the ground.
- Keep both feet close together and shuffle away from the vehicle without picking up your feet.
Video: Downed Power Line Safety