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Hurricane - Downed Power Lines - Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather - KITV Channel 4

Hurricane - Downed Power Lines

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Downed Power Lines

Thank you Hawaiian Electric for contributing this content.  Download a Handbook for Emergency Preparedness. Also available in several languages.

Q: What do I do if I see downed power lines on the ground or touching a guard rail? How do I know if they are energized?

A: Most overhead power lines are not insulated so, when lines from a utility pole fall to the ground or on a guard rail, assume they are energized and dangerous. Energized lines can be deceiving by appearing lifeless and harmless. Don’t touch these lines! Stay a safe distance away — at least 30 feet or more!

A live wire touching the ground causes electricity to fan out in a pool, decreasing in strength as it travels away from the center. A downed line touching a fence or guard rail can energize it for several thousand yards. This poses a danger to anyone coming into contact with these structures.

Running from a fallen line may cause your legs to bridge current from higher to lower voltage and you may receive a shock. Instead, keep your legs together and shuffle away with both feet on the ground. Shuffle a safe distance (10 feet or more) away from other utility poles.

If someone is in contact with a fallen line or guard rail, do not try to rescue them because electrical current can travel through them to you and you risk becoming a victim yourself. Warn others to stay away.

As in all power line-related emergencies, call for help immediately by dialing 911 or call your electric utility company’s Trouble Line at the number(s) listed on pages 71-77.

Q: What if the downed power line is touching the car while I’m in it?

A: A car touching a downed line will become energized. If a power line falls on your car while you are inside, follow these instructions:

  • Remain where you are, if possible, and wait for help.

  • If you must get out of the car because of a fire or some other hazard, jump free of the car, hopping with both feet together so that your body clears the vehicle before touching the ground.

  • The driver should never step down or simultaneously touch the ground and equipment that is in contact with the power line, as this will increase the risk of electric shock.

  • Once you clear the car, shuffle at least 10 feet away, with both feet on the ground as described above.

  • As in all power line related emergencies, call for help immediately by dialing 911 or call your electric utility company’s Trouble Line at the number(s) listed on pages 71-77