Summer Safety Tips for Downed Power Lines after a Storm

Schedule Now

Promoting safety is an important part of the electrical services in Cincinnati provided by Apollo Home Heating, Cooling, Electric, and Plumbing. The danger from power lines downed by a storm or other causes is real. Pleasant summer weather can rapidly turn severe with heavy rains, wind, and lightning. All these conditions make downed power lines and electrical outages more common in summer.

The Dangers of Arcing Electricity

downed power lines

Arcing electricity is incredibly dangerous. It can cause third-degree burns, cardiac arrest, hearing loss, blindness, nerve damage, and even death.

When victims are within a few feet of the arc, they can suffer severe burns. The arcs spread molten metal droplets at high speed, which can be propelled up to ten feet away from the electricity. Stay away from arcing electricity and call 911 or your utility company immediately.

5 Safety Tips for Downed Electrical Power Lines

Many associate downed power lines with power outages. While this is true for homes, it does not mean that power lines are safe. Fallen power lines are extremely dangerous and still carry a strong electrical current that can cause severe injury or even death if you come into contact with it.

Here are some safety tips for fallen power lines.

1. Always Assume Broken Electrical Lines Are Dangerous

How do you tell if a downed power line is live? You can’t. Whenever and wherever you encounter a downed or dangling cable of any sort, assume that it’s a power line that poses an immediate safety threat.

Every year, people are electrocuted by coming into contact with downed power lines, which they wrongly assumed were harmless telephone lines or cable TV lines. Or they incorrectly thought that a power line carried no electricity because it was lying on the ground or broken and dangling overhead.

Power lines can be fully energized and instantly deadly, no matter where they are. If you see downed or leaning power poles, always assume their lines are energized and dangerous.

The only exception is power lines laid across the road by construction workers. There will not be any loose ends to the line; it will lay carefully across the road and be attached to equipment. These lines are designed to be driven over.

2. Keep Your Distance From Broken Cables

An energized power line can arc as much as ten feet through the air and electrocute anyone within that distance. The danger from arcing is even greater in wet conditions common after a rainstorm, such as standing on wet grass. Whether or not you can see a power line arcing, you should assume it has power.

The best advice is to stay at least 20 feet away (ideally as far away as possible) from any broken power lines. Find another way around.

3. Never Drive Over Fallen Power Lines

Do not drive over downed lines. Many drivers incorrectly assume that their rubber tires will ground out the electricity and protect them from the line. While rubber tires do offer some protection, it does not prevent power lines from getting caught up in your wheels and axles.

Arcing electricity and electromagnetic fields act strangely and out of control, and can pop up and electrocute you and your vehicle. Additionally, driving over lines can cause utility poles and other equipment to fall onto your car.

Always find an alternative route if you see downed power lines. If your vehicle comes in contact with a downed line, don’t get out—the surrounding ground may be energized and hazardous. Warn others to remain a safe distance from your car. Call 911 to report your location and get help. Do not leave your car until emergency service workers tell you it’s safe to exit.

If a power line touches your vehicle and a fire starts, carefully gather or discard any loose clothing to avoid snagging. Open the door and exit the vehicle without touching any metal. Land with both feet touching the ground, then shuffle away from the site without lifting your feet.

4. Know What to Do With a Downed Power Line

Because they pose a clear and present danger to the public, don’t wait until you can contact the local utility to report downed power lines. It’s best to call 911 immediately. Only call 911 if you see a down powerline, and not if you assume a power line may be down.

You should also warn others and nearby neighbors about any danger.

5. Know What to Do If a Power Line Falls on Your House

If a power line falls on your house, do not touch metal or run water. Call your electric company, and they will cut power to your home so you can safely exit.

If there is an emergency and you cannot wait for your electric company to cut the power before you exit the house, leave as carefully as possible. Exit the house as far away from the power line as you can. Don’t lift your feet; shuffle along the ground, maintaining contact. If you have rubber-soled shoes, wear those.

For more summer safety tips or electrical services in Cincinnati year-round, contact the professionals at Apollo Home.

"Ernie & Mike did a superb job on my new furnace and A/C installation. Despite having more than a day’s work to do, they came in and stayed until the job was done. They were organized, efficient, and protected the rest of the house well. Got both furnace and A/C installed the same day. Ernie was courteous, informative, and clearly knew his job better than anyone I’ve encountered before. The units look so good guests now get The Tour of our new system. Apollo is clearly not a fly-by-night company. I would recommend them to anyone in need of a new furnace and/or A/C."
- Jerry A.
"I called Apollo because of a water leak I thought I had in our upstairs shower going into the kitchen. Robbie came and assured me everything was fine & looked at all the other plumbing. He ended up changing a few pipes for our washer & clearing a drain. He was very nice & knowledgeable with all my questions. I ended up signing up for the care plan & was very happy with my service."
- Cassandra B.
"The team at Apollo exceeded my expectations. As a business owner, my attention to the details and commitment to providing excellent service is high. From the sales rep. to the installation team, everyone’s performance was outstanding. For example, the installation team went to great lengths to protect our floors, placing floor runners and across the wood floors and up the stairs. They even were spot washing walls upon their departure. I highly recommend this company."
- Randy B.
"We scheduled an estimate AND a tune-up. We knew something was wrong with our furnace, but hoped we could make it through the rest of the season. Upon telling Bill what our furnace was doing, he warned us immediately what the possible outcome was going to be; a cracked heat exchanger. He watched the flames roll backward, tested carbon monoxide levels, which were so high they meter’s last reading was 5,600 before saying “high”. He immediately shut it down, tagged it, and explained that with levels that high and children in our home he wanted off right away. He continued his inspection and showed us via a camera that not only was it cracked in multiple places, but had holes all over it. He gave us a few options for repairing it; his knowledge as well as genuine concern was beneficial and refreshing. Luckily we also scheduled an estimator, Micah, to come too and we were able to get costs between repairing and replacing (with several options). We decided to replace with a much higher efficiency furnace and one sized properly to our home. Hands down, not only did they both provide us great service and knowledge, but without sounding dramatic, they may have saved our lives. This was our first time calling Apollo, but it won’t be our last."
- Sarah B.
"Apollo is an excellent company. I always receive great service. Alex A. was professional and friendly. He kept me informed during the process of checking my furnace and heat pump to make sure they were working properly. The company makes sure you are notified who is coming and when they are on the way. All my interactions with the company have been wonderful."
- Beverly S.



    Apollo Care Plan