Reviewing this information will help you make informed decisions, critical to dealing safely with what you may encounter during a major power outage or any incident involving powerlines.
Recent extreme weather events that struck locally provide a vivid reminder of the need to be prepared for outages, AND, to be aware of powerline and electricity dangers not only on your property but throughout the entire community.
1. Stay Back Length of a School Bus
See a downed pole, hydro line, or branches in contact with powerlines? Stay back the length of a school bus. The powerlines and everything in the vicinity could be electrified. Keep 10 metres – 33 feet away.
2. Stay in Your Vehicle
Powerline on Your Car? Always assume any downed lines are energized and potentially lethal. CALL 9-1-1! If you can safely drive out from under the line or away from the source of electricity, do so. If you can't drive the vehicle, stay where you are until help arrives and don’t reach out the window to remove wires! If it becomes critical to escape the vehicle, jump out and away from the vehicle, making sure that you land with your feet together. You must not stumble, so don't try to jump far. Then, move away from the vehicle, using the shuffle technique, until you are at least 10-metres from the vehicle.
3. Stay Back and Stay Calm
First at an Accident Scene? If a powerline is on the vehicle or on the ground, do not rush into to assist. Assume any downed powerline and anything it touches is live and potentially deadly. You must keep at least 10 metres (33 feet) away. If you can communicate with the occupants of the vehicle tell them to STAY IN THE VEHICLE until help arrives. Call 9-1-1 and warn any others in the vicinity about the need to keep back at least 10 metres!
4. Stay Away from Flooded Areas
See or suspect flooding in your basement? Assume basements and all submersed areas are electrified. And just because the power's out in your neighborhood, that doesn't provide a safe reprieve. If you are in immediate danger contact 911. Never try to access your fuse panel in wet or flooded conditions. Never attempt repairs yourself.
It's More than Just the Wires
When tree branches come in contact with powerlines due to heavy winds or ice storms, they can become energized and electrocute anyone who touches it.
When lines are stressed or down, always stay well away the power lines and the trees in the vicinity. Anything touching a powerline under certain conditions can be energized.
The same is true for telephone, fiber optic and cable TV wires. It too can become energized, if powerlines come in contact with them. If you see a downed wire on a tree limb immediately call 1-877-310-4937.
BHI teams work to achieve a highly disciplined and coordinated response, side-by-side with the City, first responders and other partners, reacting to incidents involving hydro equipment, such as damage caused by severe storms and traffic accidents. Our response efforts must be precise, decisive and collaborative, to keep our citizens safe and to keep the City and the Province moving.