Downed Power Lines

Never touch a downed power line or anything it may be touching.

If you see a downed power line, call us immediately at (503) 472-6158.

Remember these safety tips:

Downed Lines

  • If a line is down, do not touch the wires, or anything near the wires.
  • Call 911 or MW&L for assistance.
  • If you see someone in contact with a power line, don’t touch them, or you may become a victim, too.
  • Electricity can spread outward through the ground in a circular shape from the point of contact. As you move away from the center, large differences in voltages can be created.

Overhead Lines

  • Look up and around you. Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Be aware of the dangers of operating equipment in the air, like drones and model airplanes. Keep these items away from power lines.
  • Always be aware of the location of power lines, particularly when using long metal tools, like ladders and tree pruners.  Lower your long equipment when using it, and carry ladders horizontally.
  • Avoid trimming trees near power lines. Call a professional to do this work.

Underground Utility Lines

  • Call 811 before you dig to learn the location of underground utilities near your home.  See Call Before You Dig for more information.

Vehicles and Downed Lines

  • Never drive over downed power lines. Assume that they are energized.
  • If contact is made with an energized power line while you are in a vehicle, remain calm and do not get out unless the vehicle is on fire. If possible, call for help.
  • If you must exit any equipment because of fire or other safety reasons, try to jump completely clear, making sure that you do not 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. Be careful to maintain your balance.
  • If you see repair crews working on downed power lines, please drive carefully.

Infographic on downed power line safety and cars