What to do when you see a Downed Power Line

What to do when you see a Downed Power Line

Southern Maryland is no surprise to downed power lines. You never know, you might be the lucky one that has to deal with it on the road or you might be the only outsider that can help. Obviously, this is not something to handle recklessly.

Here are some tips to call to mind if this not so favorable situation just happens to land on your lap:

Landed on Lucy

¨What the %&$?! Just happened? A power line just landed on Lucy!¨

Ok, try to calm down. Your first reaction is to get out of your car and check for how much damage just occurred to your baby. But that technically can be a total fatal move.

What to do:

  1. Stay Put – Only if your car is not burning with flames. The power lines can charge your car with electrical current and so if you get out, Lucy will actually be saying goodbye to you. Make sure you communicate quickly to any passengers to not move as one faulty touch can affect everyone.
  2. Do not touch the inside of the car- any part of the car frame should be avoided so keep your hands to yourself.
  3. Call for help – Use your cell phone to call 911 and follow their specific instructions
  4. Outsiders cannot touch the car- Make sure you use all efforts to get the message across for passerby´s not to touch your car. If you happen to not carry a cell phone ask them to call for you.
  5. Don’t worry, your almost safe – Once the police arrive, leave it to them to solve the problem and follow their instructions until they tell you, you can exit your car.

Power pole falls in front of a Southern Maryland residents´car.

The Roof is on Fire

What to do:

  1. Is it a real fire or just exhaust – Smoke won’t disappear quickly but exhaust will fade into the air. Obviously, if you see flames, get out!!
  2. Open the door with only touching plastic frame of the door. The metal parts of the car will be charge with electricity so it is absolutely important that you don´t touch any metal parts to avoid electrocution.
  3. Jump out of the car – You cannot step out of the car as usual. Bring your legs together and have them tucked towards your body. Turn your body in a way that your feet do not touch the metal framing at the bottom. Cross your arms to make your body as small as possible so you are ready to jump out.
  4. How to jump – As your legs are together, jump out of the car and land both feet on the ground at the same time to reduce your chances of getting electrocuted. Your body should be in the air when you jump out of the car.
  5. Hop away – hop as fast as you can, keeping both feet on the ground at the same time. Making sure your feet touch the ground at the same time avoids being electrocuted.
  6. 50 feet to 15.2 M away – once you are about 50 feet away from the car call 911. Follow their instructions and make sure other observers don´t approach the car as you keep your distance away from the car.

Be the Samaritan

If you are the witness of what just happened, there are things you can do. First of all, keep your distance away from the car, about 50 feet away. Your safety is first priority from helping others. Start yelling to the person in the vehicle and make sure they know they should not touch anything and to stay in the car if there are no flames. Assure them quickly that police is coming as you start making the call. If the car is on fire, give them instructions of how to jump out of the car to avoid being electrocuted. Also, assure them the police are coming so they try not to go into panic mode.  If there are other bystanders, make sure they know not to approach the car. Once you talk to the police and relay the details wait for arrival before you decide to leave the scene.

Smart Reaction is the Key

In situations like these, it is very important you try to keep calm and to remember the car can be easily charged with electricity. Keeping in good communication with other car passengers will help keep the situation non-fatal. We hope it doesn’t happen to you, but it is also beneficial to know what to do if your the one who draws the red straw.