Officials with Rocky Mountain Power are reminding residents of the danger that surrounds downed power lines. According to a statement set by Rocky Mountain Power on Wednesday (2/15/17), winter weather conditions this time of year can damage lines. High winds, ice on lines, and road conditions that cause vehicles to slip and slide- all have the potential to damage power lines. The results can be power outages to customers and conditions that create some safety challenges to nearby individuals.
“The single most important message to the public in these situations is: Stay away and call the power company immediately,” said Mike Felice, Rocky Mountain Power safety director. “It’s impossible to tell if a downed power line is still carrying electricity, so stay clear and keep others, including pets, as far away as possible.”
Felice explains that electricity, by its very nature, is always seeking a path to ground. When a line is damaged and falls to the ground, it’s impossible to know if the electricity is flowing through the line. In addition, other objects have the potential to become part of electricity’s path to ground – a tree, a vehicle or a fence are examples.
“The further away from a downed line the better,” Felice said. “It’s just best to treat any downed line as though it were energized. Immediately call 9-1-1 then call the power company.”
The toll-free number to call Rocky Mountain Power is 1-877-508-5088. Rocky Mountain Power officials say that their personnel have specialized training and equipment to properly deal with downed lines.
“There’s one exception to this rule,” Felice said. “If an electric line falls on your car and you’re inside the car, stay inside until help arrives. You’re safe from electrical shock as long as you’re inside the vehicle.”
If you must escape from a vehicle because it’s on fire, leap from the open vehicle door keeping both feet together and continue to hop away with both feet together. Take care to never touch the car once you’ve made contact with the ground. Warn others and keep everyone clear of the vehicle until power company officials arrive.