A recent accident near Wanda, Minnesota, left more than 700 cooperative member-consumers without power for several hours after a truck hit a power line and brought down two utility poles.
Not only did the incident cause an outage, it also created an unsafe situation. Although crews from Great River Energy and member-owner Redwood Electric Cooperative responded quickly to cut the power to the power line in this case, it is important to know what to do if a power line falls on your vehicle.
“Fortunately, no one was injured during this incident,” said Kirk Wulf, safety administrator at Great River Energy. “But if your vehicle comes in contact with a power line, it is critical you know what to do.”
The following are steps you should take if your vehicle hits a power line:
- Call 911 as soon as possible and keep the area clear until help arrives.
- If you can do so without risking your car or further damaging utility infrastructure, drive at least 40 feet away.
- If the vehicle is on fire or you must exit for other safety reasons, jump clear so that no part of your body touches the equipment and ground at the same time, and land with feet together. Hop to safety in small steps to avoid electric shock by breaking the current’s path.
To learn more about safety around power lines, view Great River Energy’s power line safety brochure.