(Modern Survival.org) – What is the FIRST Thing You Should Do if You Are in a Car Near a Downed Power Line?
- Call 911
- Stay in Car
- Run Away
- Keep Driving
Answer: Stay in Car. Here’s why…
Downed power lines are incredibly dangerous — and more common than one might think. Strong storms bring utility wires to the ground frequently, as do vehicles striking power poles. Unfortunately, most people aren’t aware of just how deadly these scenarios can be.
To shed some light on the dangers of downed utility lines, ATCO Group has provided the following safety video:
When encountering a downed power line, always assume they’re energized. Do not attempt to touch, move or approach the line. Stay at least 33 feet away from the line at all times (roughly the length of a school bus).
If You’re in a Vehicle…
If you find yourself in a vehicle that is touching a downed power line, safely move your vehicle to a position where it is no longer in contact with it. Drive at least 33 feet away from the line, and contact emergency services to notify them of the situation. However, if there’s a chance you will have to drive over a downed line, do not move the vehicle. Stay inside and call 911.
There is an exception to this rule. Should you find yourself in immediate danger, such as a fire caused by the power line, then you will need to leave the vehicle and get a safe distance away. Open the door as wide as possible, then jump from the vehicle. It is important to land with both feet on the ground at once, and not to touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time.
While moving away from the vehicle, shuffle or hop away, keeping both feet on the ground at once. If you choose to shuffle, don’t let the heel of one foot move beyond the toe of the other until you have reached a safe distance away from the line. If you hop, make sure both feet touch the ground at the same time.
The key is to avoid touch potential and step potential. Touch potential occurs when an energized object is touched at the same time as the ground. Since electricity will seek the fastest way to the ground, it will travel from the object and through you. This can lead to serious injury or death. Step potential happens between two separate areas of the ground, which is why it’s so important to keep your feet together while moving away from a downed utility line.
Survivalism is preparing for all types of emergencies to the best of our abilities. From natural disasters and civil unrest to more commonplace issues such as downed power lines, preparing beforehand will give you an edge to walk away alive.
For information on how to survive another emergency situation, check out our article on house fires here.
~Here’s to Your Survival!
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