Downed power lines: always a risk

                You teach your children not to mix water and electricity in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room. But when a late summer rain storm knocks power lines down outdoors, do they know to stay far away from them?

                Here’s what your family needs to know:

  • If someone nearby comes into contact with electricity, do not touch that person or anything the person is touching. Instead, call 911. If the source of electricity is an appliance, grab the plug—not the cord—and pull it out of the outlet. If you cannot safely remove the plug, turn off the power at the fuse or circuit breaker.
  • If an electric wire falls on your car, do not get out of the car. You are safe inside your vehicle because your tires are conductors of electricity. They can keep you safe in your car because electricity seeks the quickest path to the ground--through the outside of the car, through the tires and into the ground.
  • Not all power lines are insulated, so they are never safe to touch. When a wire falls to the ground, it may still be live, even if you don’t see sparks. Call 911 and your electric cooperative if you see a downed wire. Warn others to keep their distance.
  • Wood is a poor conductor of electricity, but it is still a conductor, especially when wet. Do not use a wooden ladder near a power line. If a ladder begins to fall into a power line, don’t grab it. Let it fall and call your electric cooperative.
  • Only pure rubber is an insulator, and most household products aren’t pure rubber. Don’t try to handle electric emergencies at home, even when you’re wearing rubber gloves or shoes.