Downed trees, poles, and power lines can be deadly. You can't always visually tell whether a downed power line is live. That's why you must assume all downed lines are energized. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, the ground near a downed power line may carry electricity as far away as 35 feet. If you are nearby, the best way to get away is to shuffle your feet in little steps in order to reduce the risk of shock. Do not pick your feet up off the ground.
If you notice an injured person in direct contact or near a downed line, call 911 and stay a safe distance away, or you could also be harmed. Do not attempt to move any downed lines even with wooden objects. If even slightly wet, these objects will conduct electricity. Avoid puddles of water or anything wet near downed lines.
Don't drive over downed lines, and if you are in your car and a line comes in contact with your car while you are in it, alert others to refrain from coming near while you wait in your vehicle for emergency personnel to arrive. If your vehicle catches on fire, jump out of the car with both feet together to avoid a continuous connection with your car and the ground. Then carefully shuffle away from the car.
It's also critically important that you also stay away from downed trees and damaged poles with power lines for all the same reasons listed above. Frequently, a fallen tree or damaged pole will ensnare power lines and cause outages. And while wood is not a good conductor of electricity, water is. Trees hold moisture and may retain enough water content to conduct electricity.
Pike County Light & Power has a preventative pole inspection program and a vegetation management program. Our poles are inspected regularly and replaced based on condition, and trees are trimmed along our right of ways (ROWs) also on a regular basis. These programs help prevent future outages and electrical equipment damage.
Many homeowners decide to remove high risk trees that might damage their house in a storm or fall on electrical lines to prevent costly damage. Be sure you hire a qualified professional to cut down or trim trees near your service or main line. Only high voltage, qualified tree trimmers are permitted to clear trees near energized lines. Contact Pike directly at 855-855-2050 to confirm no electric wires are near your tree(s).
Remember to play it safe and keep away from downed trees, poles, or power lines. If you see or are aware of any dangerous condition, notify us immediately at our emergency number, 855-855-2433, and keep away until the damaged tree, pole, or line is safely removed and repaired.