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Emergency Responders


It’s a heroic job being the first ones on the scene after an accident and we want to keep first responders safe. Here are a few safety guidelines for how to work around downed power lines.

Being a first responder is difficult enough without having to worry about how to address potentially dangerous electrical hazards at the scene of emergencies. Our First Responder Safety site makes it easier to know what to do, providing valuable tips on understanding and responding to common electrical emergencies while offering other key tools and resources designed to help keep your crews and the public safe.

Fallen tree brought down powerlines and blocking road

Stay Away From Downed Lines

  • Secure the area. Be aware that there may be dangers you can't see such as a line concealed by foliage or a downed line a few spans away.
  • Notice any metal objects such as fences and guardrails. They may have become energized from downed power lines.
  • Avoid all downed lines, even those not sparking, since they can still be live and cause electrocution.
  • Assume that all downed lines – even phone or coaxial cable lines – are energized.

Person in back yard on telephone reporting downed line

Report a Downed Line or Hazard

  • You may see safety hazards while on duty as an emergency responder or any time. If you see an electrical hazard, we would appreciate it if you would let us know at 1.866.223.8508.
  • Only a power company employee or other trained professional has the proper equipment and knowledge of proper procedure to remove a power line.
  • If a downed wire is in an area served by us your dispatcher should have a special phone number for use only in this type of emergency.

Person getting out of vehicle

Downed Lines Touching a Vehicle

  • When downed wires are touching a vehicle, it’s usually best for the occupant to stay put.
  • Stay at least 30 feet from the vehicle and keep bystanders at least 30 feet away. Wait until our workers can stabilize the situation.
  • If the occupant must leave the vehicle, advise them to remove loose items of clothing, put their feet together and jump clear of the vehicle, landing on both feet. Then shuffle away keeping the feet touching each other.

Person in lift wearing hard hat working on power lines

Tools & Equipment

  • Even if a tool or piece of equipment is made of non-conductive material, it may not be a sufficient weight or gauge to protect against electrocution.
  • Tiny holes, oil or dirt, or even dampness can eliminate a tool's protective qualities.
  • Let our employees work around the downed wires. They use materials and equipment that meet the safety requirements and have special training to complete the job safely.

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