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Wind Damage Affecting Power Lines
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
Spring brings with it some very unpredictable weather. What may start out as a calm, sunny day may end up with severe storms leaving behind widespread damage. Wind damage is usually quite common, and the aftermath of any storm usually finds a tree or two being sawed up and removed in any given neighborhood.
Sometimes, though, the problem is magnified when trees fall across power lines or if poles supporting those lines are blown over by the wind. The wires are typically still live even when they are on the ground, and as a result, they pose a serious threat to anyone who may happen along, especially children, since they may not be aware of the danger presented.
Once the wind and rain have subsided and you discover downed power lines on your property or street, remember to follow a few common sense safety protocols to protect your family from serious injury or death.
Tips to Remain Safe Around Downed Power Lines
All wires should be considered to be energized and dangerous. Even lines that are out should be suspect since the power could come surging back on at any time, usually without prior warning. A person standing in the wrong place or touching the wrong material could be severely injured or killed.
Stay at least ten feet away from any downed wires, preferably further. If possible, warn other people of the danger.
Remember that electricity wants the ground. This means that you are at risk for electrocution even if you are not touching the wire. Just standing in close proximity to the fallen wire may be enough to cause problems.
Electricity may also travel through tree limbs. Many times fallen wires become tangled in the branches of a downed tree and too many people begin trimming limbs without first making sure the wires have been de-energized and properly removed. This is a recipe for disaster.
Do not use other objects to move a downed wire. If the object you choose is even a mildly effective conductor of electricity, you could be seriously injured. If a power line falls on your vehicle, stay inside. You are safer inside than you would be if you attempt to escape. Warn other people away as they may be injured if they touch your vehicle.
If someone else does come in contact with a downed power line, do not try to assist them as you may become a victim as well. Call 911 and remain on the scene until help arrives.
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