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Downed Power Line Safety During and After Storms

Last night, Michigan experienced a night of lightening and rain storms. At FLC, we were able to capture a shelf cloud over our equipment, which is ready to respond during inclement weather.

When storms happen, it is important to understand how to respond to downed power lines. We will review some common questions regarding what to do if you encounter a downed power line.

What should I do if I encounter a downed power line?

Immediately, move at least 10 feet away from the downed line and anything it is touching. To properly move away from the line, you should shuffle, with small steps, keeping your feet together and on the ground at all times. The human body is a ready conductor of electricity, so this method helps reduce the potential for a strong electrical shock.

What can I do to help someone who has come in contact with a downed power line?

If the individual is in direct or indirect contact with the downed line, do not touch the person, but call 911 immediately.

Can I use something that is not metal to move a downed power line?

Non-conducive materials, like wood and cloth, can still conduct electricity and result in electrocution. Therefore, it is crucial for you to not attempt to move a downed power line or anything it is touching.

What should I do if I see a downed power line in the street while I am driving my car?

Stop the car! Do not drive over downed power lines.

What if a power line comes onto my car or I didn't see it until I have driven into it?

If the downed power line falls onto your car, while you are in it, you should stay in the car. However, if you are in immediate danger, such as the car is on fire, you should jump out of the vehicle with both feet together. Additionally, try to avoid contact with the live car and ground at the same time. Once landed, use the shuffle method to move away from the car.

Is a downed power line still dangerous if it has come down in water, such as a pool or pond?

Yes, water acts as a good conductor of electricity. No matter the amount of water, even a puddle, could be energized.

We hope this information will keep you and your family safe if you encounter a downed power line.


If interested in joining our storm team, please submit your information to our storm roster.

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