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Warning: Beware of Downed Power Lines

 Warning: Beware of Downed Power Lines

Weather and car accidents are the main causes of downed power lines. Sam Houston Electric Cooperative warns members to use extreme caution should they encounter a downed power line, which can carry an electric current strong enough to cause serious injury or death.

Assume that any downed line you see is energized and report it immediately to the police, fire department and your electric cooperative.

Here are some tips to help you stay safe around downed power lines:

• If you see a downed power line, move away from it and anything touching it.

• The proper way to move away from the line is to shuffle away with small steps, keeping your feet together and on the ground at all times. This will minimize the chance for a human path of electric current and minimize the hazards of electric shock. Electricity moves from zones of high voltage to zones of low voltage—and it could do that through your body.

• Do not drive over downed power lines.

• If you see someone who is in direct or indirect contact with a downed power line, do not touch the person. You could become the next victim. Call 911 instead.

• Do not attempt to move a downed power line or anything in contact with the line by using another object, such as a broom or stick. Even typically nonconductive materials such as wood can conduct electricity and electrocute you.

• Be careful not to put your feet near water where a downed power line is located.

• If you are in your car and it is in contact with a downed line, stay in your car. Honk your horn and call 911 for help. Tell others to stay away from your vehicle.

• If you must leave your car because it’s on fire, jump out of the vehicle with both feet together to avoid simultaneous contact with the live car and the ground, then use small shuffling steps to get away from the car. This way, you reduce the risk of becoming part of the path of electricity.