If you see a downed power line, please STAY AWAY from it!!! Call Ozark Electric Cooperative or 911 immediately! Downed power lines carry an electrical current strong enough to cause serious injury or possible death. It is always dangerous to assume a power line is not energized just because it is down or low hanging after a storm or vehicle accident that involves a pole. You cannot tell by looking at it if it is energized. The following tips can keep you safe around downed lines:
- Do the bunny-hop. Electricity is always seeking a way to get to the ground, and the human body which is mostly water, is a ready conductor of electricity. Should you come upon a downed or low-hanging line, the proper way to move away from the line is to bunny-hop with small jumps, keeping both feet together and arms at your side.
- Vehicle accidents. If you are in a vehicle that a power line falls across or near, DO NOT leave the vehicle. Tell others to stay away from the vehicle and to call 911. If you must leave the vehicle due to a fire or other emergency, jump out of the vehicle with both feet together and avoid contact with the live vehicle and the ground at the same time. This way you can avoid becoming the path of electricity from the car to the ground. Once you are outside the vehicle, shuffle away from it keeping both feet together in the method explained above.
- Keep hands off! If you are in a vehicle with downed power lines nearby and you see someone approaching to help, tell them to stay away. Or if you see someone who is in direct contact with the downed line, do not touch the person or you could become the next victim. In both instances, 911 should be called.
- Don’t move it. Especially after a storm, it is tempting to want to help by moving brush or other debris off of a downed power line. This is a dangerous idea. Do not attempt to move a downed power line or anything in contact with the line. Do not use another object such as a stick or broom to try to remove line or debris. If the object is even slightly wet, it can conduct electricity and electrocute you.
- Water and electricity - a dangerous mix. Be careful not to put your feet near or run into water where a downed power line is located. If flooding has occurred, it may be difficult to see the line under the water. Water is an excellent conductor of electricity, and you can be electrocuted as soon as your feet hit the water.
- Do not drive. Do not drive over downed power lines.
- Clean up cautiously. When cleaning up after a storm, watch out for downed or low-hanging lines above, below, or anywhere near you. If possible, wait to do the clean up until after the Cooperative has been there to repair the lines.