Storms like Hurricane Sandy and Katrina, and tornadoes like those that hit the Midwest often leave an obvious devastating path to all objects in the way. We experience after-effects like fallen trees, flying debris, slippery roads, and downed power lines. As a result, power outages occur in many ways. Utility workers can’t arrive at our homes quickly enough, and it could take days for heat and electricity to be restored. We know how to reset our breaker and to report any lighting strikes, but what about downed power lines, an occurrence we don’t see every day?
In 2007, a mother and child were electrocuted and died while trying to board a bus at a flooded bus stop when a power line fell. Trying to assist, their friend was also electrocuted and died. In another instance, a group of passengers remained stuck on a bus when the driver ran into a power line pole that fell on the bus. Power lines can come down during a storm, remain downed after the storm has passed, or be the result of driver error, as in the case of the bus driver.
Downed power lines are a serious issue and acting irresponsibly around them can cause critical injuries or even death. Assuming that a downed power line is live might remind you to take extra cautionary measures when you do see one. Here are some tips to avoid severe electrocution:
- Don’t touch the power line or dangling cord. Further, stay away from anyone or anything that is in contact with that line.
- Never attempt to move the downed power line with a stick or similar object. The object could be wet and could act as a conductor between you and the power line.
- Don’t drive over a downed power line, or step in water close to where the line is located.
- Stay in the car if a power line has fallen on your car, and honk your horn to signal help. If you do need to leave your vehicle because help does not arrive, be sure not to touch the ground and the car at the same time. This is tricky, even for the most flexible of bodies. If you can, jump off the frame of the door without touching any metal, and jump as far away as possible.
If you’ve suffered the effects of an injury due to power not being restored on time because of the utility company delay, or injured as a result of a downed power line you may have a reason to explore a personal injury lawsuit. Utility workers have a scope of responsibility in tending to downed power lines as quickly as possible. If they cannot reach you in time, try as best as you can to stay out of harm’s way until help does arrive.
Electrocution and downed power lines are examples of instances where you should not take matters in your own hands. Seek the proper help and contact the authorities to take care of the situation for you, and consult legal assistance when an injury does occur.