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Dealing with Downed Power Lines

You can report downed power lines to CenterPoint Energy at 713-207-2222.  For other areas not serviced by CenterPoint, contact your local electrical utility provider.

Downed power lines can occur after frequent or major storms.  When this happens, be aware of the hazards associated with downed power lines. Don't assume that ANY power line on the ground is not energized, or that it's insulated.  Keep back at least 10 feet away from the wire, and keep other passerby away the vicinity of the downed line as swell. 

Observe the following guidelines if presented with a downed power line situation:

Consider ALL wires ENERGIZED and deadly.

Lines that are de-energized can become energized at any time.  Adhere to the minimum safe distance of 10 feet.   A "hot" wire touching the ground can cause electricity to travel through the ground, radiating out from the contact point. STAY AWAY!

DO NOT try to remove tree limbs or ANY other object from a power line

Electricity can travel through limbs, especially when they are wet. Be certain that no power lines are near before cutting or trimming trees and removing debris.

If a broken power line falls on your vehicle, STAY INSIDE THE VEHICLE. 

Use a cell phone to call for help. The vehicle can become energized with electricity and you are safer remaining inside until help arrives.  The rubber on your tires is keeping you safe from the energized vehicle.  Other metal objects can also become energized if a power line contacts them.  Instruct others not to approach or touch the vehicle, and have them call for help.

If you MUST get out of the vehicle because of fire or life-threatening hazards:

 jump clear of the vehicle so that you don't touch any part of it and the ground at the same time. Jump as far as possible away from the vehicle, with both feet landing on the ground at the same time, keeping both feet together. Once you clear the vehicle, shuffle away, with both feet on the ground, or hop away, with both feet landing on the ground at the same time. Do not run away from the vehicle, as the electricity forms rings of different voltages. Running may cause your legs to "bridge" current from a higher ring to a lower voltage ring. This could result in a shock and can lead to severe injury or death. Get a safe distance away.

If someone makes contact with a downed power line, don't try to rescue them!

Don't be a hero.  Without proper training, you risk becoming a victim yourself, and you are NOT more powerful than electricity. Call 911 for help.

This article has been shared by Direct Service, Construction and Design to specifically accommodate our intended clientele.  The intent of sharing this information is to better inform the public of these general topics, expand knowledge and safety for all and provide crucial information in regard to their MEP and building systems and/or assets. It is NOT our recommendation that any article recommendations or how-to scenarios be attempted by anyone other than a qualified or competent person.