7 Electrical Safety Tips for Downed or Low-Hanging Power Lines

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downed power lines on street causing safety hazard

Power lines carry a substantial load of electric current—from generating plants to substations and eventually to residential homes and business premises. As a critical element of the power transmission grid, power lines require special attention to ensure everybody's safety.

Unfortunately, critters trigger a substantial proportion of power outages and mishaps, including downed or low-hanging power lines. Critter Guard’s Line Guard and Pole Guard systems are designed to block rodents' access to utility poles and lines, helping to prevent costly power outages and dangerous low-hanging or downed power lines.

Downed or Low-Hanging Power Lines

At any particular time, you should regard all power lines as energized, and thus avoid coming into contact or close to the electrical hazard. Regardless, low or fallen power lines can present a unique challenge. This concern is due to the fact power lines convey high voltage at sustained levels. Dangers of these lines include:

  • Energized wet grounds that can result in electrocutions
  • Sparks that may start fires (forest fires or setting fuel on fire)
  • Energized vehicles trapping people inside

How Squirrels/Other Wildlife Can Cause Downed Power Lines

Basically, electric current seeks the fastest conduit to the ground. As such, utility companies install pole insulators to ensure the safe transmission of power to your neighborhood.

However, unwitting critters pose a considerable challenge, offering high-voltage current an avenue around the safety measures. Sometimes the animals' body falls to the ground, and you may only notice a blink in your power. Else, squirrels and other wildlife compromise the power-lines safety measures by chewing on or through power lines, setting off sparks and ultimately resulting in downed or overhanging power-lines.

Electrical Safety Tips

If you come across a downed or overhanging power line, adhere to these safety tips:

  1. Move away from low lying or fallen power lines, and anything they’re in direct contact with—the ground surface around it (up to 35 feet) is also likely to be energized.
  2. Always assume any downed or overhanging power line to be live.
  3. If you do happen to be near a downed power line, shuffle away diligently with small steps. Equally, have both feet on the ground together at any one time. This minimizes the potential risk of significant electric shocks.
  4. Do not touch anyone in direct contact with the downed line. Instead, call 911 for help.
  5. Desist from moving downed power lines—even with non-conductive materials.
  6. Do not drive over fallen power lines.
  7. Should you find yourself trapped and your vehicle in direct contact with the overhanging or downed power line—call for help. Direct others to steer away from your car.

At Critter Guard, we strive to prevent the dangers of low-hanging and downed power lines and costly power outages. To learn more about how our Line Guard and Pole Guard systems can help protect power in your area, contact us today.

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  • John Sims
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