Learn how to stay safe around downed wires

  • Assume that all overhead wires are energized and do not touch!

  • Stay at least 30 feet away from any downed wire, and don’t go near the pole or anything touching the line.
  • Call 911 immediately if a wire is down. Warn others to stay at least 30 feet away from the line until help arrives. Keep pets away, too.
  • Report downed wires by calling 1-800-436-7734. Please provide the nearest cross street and nearby pole number.
  • If a downed wire is near water – even a small puddle – keep well away.
  • Be careful not to stand under damaged tree limbs and overhead wires. Tree limbs can become weakened during a storm but not fall until several hours or days later. The same can be true for damaged power lines or poles.
  • Stay at least 10 feet away from overhead wires during cleanup and other activities. Survey the area before starting work for the presence of overhead wires and avoid touching anything that may be in contact with a wire, like tree limbs or other debris.
  • Don’t drive or walk over downed wires.

  • If a wire falls on a vehicle, passengers should stay inside the vehicle until help arrives.
  • Do not run away from the vehicle, as the electricity forms rings of different voltages. Running may cause your legs to “bridge” an electric current from a higher ring to a lower voltage ring. This could result in a shock.
  • If you must exit, first, make sure you’re not touching any part of the exterior of the car. Then, jump out of the car with both feet together, making sure that you are not touching any part of the vehicle when your feet hit the ground. Finally, get away quickly – immediately hop or shuffle at least 30 feet away.

Lauren Ugorji, Lead Writer - PSE&G

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