Downed power lines are often still energized — so report them right away
Downed power lines often do not spark or give other indications that they are still electrified, but don't be fooled. Downed electric lines do NOT immediately shut off when they become disconnected. Most power lines do not have sufficient insulation to protect against shock and electrocution hazards. Wires should always be considered “live.” Stay as far away as possible from them, and if possible, keep others, children, and pets away from the wire. Do not drive over or stand near any downed wire. To report a downed wire, call PSEG Long Island’s 24-hour Electric Service number at 800-490-0075 or call 911.
Never drive over or park near downed wires
If downed wires are in the street, near the curb, or on the sidewalk, stay far away. If a wire lands on your car while you're in it remain in the vehicle with your windows closed until help arrives, if you can do so safely. If you must exit the vehicle because of a life-threatening situation, follow these steps:
- Make sure you're not touching any part of the exterior of the car.
- Because the ground surrounding the vehicle may be energized, you need to avoid becoming an electrical conductor. To do that, jump out of the car with both feet together. Make sure that you are not touching any part of the vehicle when your feet hit the ground.
- Immediately hop or shuffle at least 30 feet away. Do not run or walk, as that may create a "bridge" through which electrical currents can travel, putting you at grave risk of an electrical shock. If shuffling, your heels should not pass your toes.
- Once you have shuffled 30 feet away from your vehicle continue moving away as far away as possible from the vehicle and the downed wires and keep others away until help arrives.
Never extend a pole or stick toward a downed wire, even if someone is being shocked
This can create a path through which the electricity can travel. While our human instinct is to reach out to help, touching an individual who has been energized also provides a path through which electricity can travel. Call 911 for help immediately.