Dealing with Electrical Hazards

In our daily life, we are unlikely to encounter electrical hazards. Thankfully, most of our exposure to electricity is when it is safely contained within its circuits. Many of the devices and pieces of our electrical grid and distribution systems are designed simply to protect us from unwanted electrical discharge. However, in the rare situation that we are faced with an electrical hazard, it is important to know what to do.

A downed power line is an extremely dangerous electrical hazard. It can be extremely lethal, and the charge can spread further than one might think. If you happen to see a downed power line, your priority should be to stay FAR away, and ensure that others do the same. If you see someone who appears to be injured and is potentially under the effects of the power line, do NOT attempt to pull them away, or to somehow move the power line. Without proper training, you are at huge risk for joining them in severe injury or death. Current that is flowing into them will easily flow into you, even if you attempt to use something to move them or the line.

If you are unable to get away from the line, or you are in a vehicle being contacted by the line, stay where you are. Your priority should be to attract attention and help. Do not get out of your vehicle if there is a downed line contacting it. Your vehicle will protect you, but once you leave the insulation of the vehicle, you could be killed by the electrical discharge. Call for help, and make sure that any rescuers understand that there is a downed power line. Trained safety workers will be able to assess the situation and remove you from the danger. If you cannot move, stay put and  try to get assistance.

If you see a situation like a downed electrical line, report it immediately. It is likely that the problem is already known, but your report can help workers more quickly identify the area of the failure, and secure the area. Additionally, it can help to save lives by ensuring that the potentially live wire is no longer discharging dangerous amounts of electricity into the surroundings. With all things electrical, it is better to stay away and leave it to the experts. While it is a powerful and useful tool, a lack of knowledge can mean that it is terribly dangerous.

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