What to do if You Encounter a Downed Power Line

Do you know what to do if you encounter a downed power line?

Picture it. There’s a winter storm and snow and ice has built up on the road, trees and power lines. Your car slides into a hydro pole and an ice-laden power line comes down. Contact with a downed power line can be fatal. Would you know what to do?

Follow these steps:

• Stay where you are as it may be dangerous to exit the vehicle.

• Back the vehicle well away from contact with the line if it’s safe to do so. • Warn others to stay clear of the power line.

• Call Manitoba Hydro at 1-888-624-9376 to de-energize the line.

If it is not safe for you to stay in the vehicle due to fire or other immediate danger, do not simply step out of the vehicle as your body can make a path for electricity to the ground, electrocuting you. Exit the vehicle by following these steps:

• Keep your feet together.

• Hold your arms tightly at your sides.

• Jump without touching the vehicle and ground at the same time.

• With your feet together, shuffle or hop away from the downed line.

Other life-saving tips to be aware of regarding a downed pole or power line:

• Never try to move a downed line out of your way using any type of object. Since improper handling can result in serious injury or death, this job must be left in the hands of trained professionals.

• Assume all downed lines are energized and dangerous. Keep 10 metres away (about the length of a bus) from a downed line and any other object the line may be touching, including water and fences.

• Report a downed power line immediately to Manitoba Hydro or to the police and warn others to stay away. Stay clear of low or sagging power lines. Travelling under or near these lines can be dangerous.

To learn more about electrical safety, visit hydro.mb.ca/safety.

Prepared by Linda Carter, PHEc Public Safety & Education Coordinator, Manitoba Hydro