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Keeping Safe around Downed Power Lines
Don’t touch downed power lines – stay at least 10 metres away and call 111.
Keeping the lights on without compromising safety is the reason we shut off power for the area when notified of low hanging or downed power lines. These lines may be the responsibility of Vector, customers or other utilities, but until a crew can make them safe it is best to turn the power off.
As a precaution, all lines should be considered live at all times. Low hanging or downed lines should never be approached or touched by the public.
A live wire may spark and whip around as it looks for ‘a ground'. A ground is the earth or something touching the earth, like a fence or a tree. Make sure it isn't you, if you are nearby. A live wire on the ground may lie silently, but it may still be live.
If you see a downed power line, don’t touch it – stay at least 10 metres away and call 111.
If you are a passer by, tell the people in the car to stay inside the car unless it is unsafe, for example if it is on fire. Call 111 and stay at least 10 metres away (about the length of a bus). The human body is a good conductor of electricity and you may get an electric shock and be seriously injured if you go near a downed live power line. Always assume all downed lines are live and don’t touch them.
If you are the driver, stay in the car unless it is unsafe (e.g. if it is on fire). You are safe from electric shock so long as you stay in the car.
If you must leave the car before help arrives, jump clear and be careful not to touch any metal parts, or the vehicle and the ground at the same time. This is so the body doesn't create a path for electricity to flow from the vehicle to the ground.
Hop or shuffle, with two feet close together at all times, away from the car until at least 10 metres away.
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