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Downed power lines: Extremely dangerous

6/5/17 4:30 p.m.

At this time, we have reports of multiple downed power lines, including downed larger transmission lines, in our service area. This photo was taken near CR 665 and CR 892 about 30 minutes ago. NEC would like to remind all members of the dangers of broken poles, downed lines, and low-hanging lines.
 
It can be easy to think that when the storm has passed, the danger must be gone as well. However, downed power lines, broken poles, or any outside interference with electric utility equipment can be very dangerous. Many people think that a power line lying on the ground must not be energized because the line is grounded but there are many factors that can contribute to a downed line still being fully energized while on the ground.
 
Downed power lines can hurt or kill you, even if they do not spark, hum or "dance." Stay away from anything touching the line, such as a tree, fence, vehicle, etc. Do not touch someone being shocked by a downed line; you could be hurt or killed.
 
We ask all of our members and the community to assume that all power lines are energized and dangerous at all times. It is never safe to touch a power line with a pole, antenna, broom or any other object. Please let our linemen with proper training and safety equipment handle those situations.
 
Downed lines are most common after storms and high winds. If you are outside after a storm, be alert for lines that may be hard to see in streams or puddles. Water is a good conductor of electricity, making the situation even more dangerous.
 
NEC recommends that everyone stay at least 10-20 feet away from downed or low-hanging power lines at all times. From any distance, when moving away from a downed power line, shuffle with your feet close together and on the ground. When a live wire touches the ground, electricity travels through the ground in all directions. Voltage decreases as distance from the wire touching the ground increases. If you run or take large steps, you could conduct electricity from one leg at one voltage to another leg at another voltage, which increases the potential for severe injury or even death. Shuffling is the safest method for moving away from a downed power line.
 
If your vehicle contacts a power line, stay inside until rescue workers say it is safe to leave. Do not touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time. If you must leave the car because of fire or other danger, jump away from the vehicle so that you do not touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Land with your feet together and shuffle away, keeping your feet close together and on the ground.
 
And as always, if you see damage to any NEC equipment, including downed, or low hanging power lines, you should stay clear of the area and call NEC immediately at 1-800-NEC-WATT. #SafetyAlways #Outage
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