A common sight after severe weather are downed power lines. In addition to storms, high elevation activities such as a crane lift or tree trimming, if not properly planned and executed, could result in downed wires. The City of Newark has many above ground conductors running throughout the city and on the UD campus.

Read and heed the guidelines below should you ever discover a downed wire.

Please see the FREAS SharePoint page under Safety for more information on this topic and a list of all previous Weekly Safety Messages issued this year.

Extended Safety Message:

  • Downed power lines can carry an electric current large enough to cause property damage, serious injury or even death.
  • Stay clear of downed or fallen electric power lines. Move away from the area and do not touch any object in the general vicinity, including other people.
  • When walking away, shuffle your feet with small steps keeping them close together and on the ground at all times.
  • Be careful not to step in any water in the area of a downed wire.
  • Never assume a downed conductor is safe because it’s on the ground or isn’t sparking.
  • Don’t assume wiring on the ground appears to be only telephone, cable or a fiber-optic line.
  • Never attempt to move a downed power line or any type of conductor.
  • Be aware that low-hanging wires still have the potential to be energized even if they aren’t touching the ground.
  • Know that electricity can spread outward through the ground in a circular pattern.
  • Most electrical transmission authorities recommend that you remain at least 35 feet away from any hanging or downed wire.
  • As you move away from the conductor, large differences in voltages can be created.
  • If you see someone who may be a victim of an electrical shock, do not approach them. Call 911.
  • Do not drive over downed power lines.
  • If you accidentally drive over an energized power line, remain calm and pull away.
  • If stopped/stalled on a wire, don’t get out of the vehicle unless it’s on fire.
  • Call for help using your cell phone and if possible, prevent others from approaching your vehicle.
  • If you must exit any equipment for a safety reason such as a fire, try to jump completely clear.
  • Make sure you don’t touch the equipment and the ground at the same time. Land with both feet together and shuffle away in small steps to minimize the path of electric current and avoid electrical shock.