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Safety Around Fallen Power Lines

Storms, car accidents and other incidents near power poles can sometimes result in power lines coming down, which can present an invisible danger to anyone at the scene. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe around fallen power lines.

2015 Safety Campaign fallen powerlines - WEB image,-06-06
  • Stay Clear, Stay Alive! If a vehicle is involved in an accident where power lines have fallen, DO NOT touch the vehicle, call 111, and (from a safe distance) advise any occupants to stay inside the vehicle until Unison confirms the power is off. Remember - although the occupants may require assistance, you risk electrocution resulting in serious electrical burns or death from live power lines. 

  • Stay Put, Stay Alive! Do not drive over fallen power lines, and if your vehicle comes into contact with a fallen power line, stay inside your car and honk for assistance, remembering to advise people stay clear and call 111 or Unison for help.

  • If you MUST leave the car because of fire or other danger, JUMP away from the vehicle so that you do not touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Land with your feet together and, keeping your feet together, hop at least 10m away.

  • Remember that it is impossible to tell if a power line is live by looking at it. Do not try to move it by using an object such as a stick, polythene pipe, or broom handle.

  • ALWAYS treat fallen power lines as live! If you come across fallen power lines, call 0800 2 UNISON immediately. Be aware that electricity may pass through soil, water, metal or even people or animals up to 8-10 meters away from a fallen power line.     
  • Move away from the area surrounding a fallen power line , and anything touching it such as fences, as they may be conducting electricity, particularly in wet conditions.

  • When moving away from a fallen power line, keep your feet together and hop  – do not run. This keeps the voltage to each foot the same - striding or running away may conduct electricity due to changes in voltage.    

Downed power lines are extremely dangerous

You can learn more about staying safe by watching our Electrical Safety video. Please be aware that it does contain images of serious electrical burns, and parental guidance is recommended.