Snohomish County Public Utility District No. 1

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425-783-1000(M-F 8a-5:30p)

Fallen Power Lines

If you see a power line that has fallen down, DO NOT APPROACH IT. It could carry enough electricity to prove fatal.

You don’t even have to touch a fallen line to be electrocuted. Electricity always wants to go to the ground and can reach you through the ground if you get close enough to a fallen live power line. Stay at least 30 feet away from any fallen line.

Call the PUD at 425-783-1000 if you see a power line on the ground to report the location.

If the situation is life-threatening (such as on top of an occupied car), please call "911" instead.


Driving Over Fallen Power Lines

Some people think it’s okay to drive across fallen power lines, believing that the rubber in the car tires will protect them. While that is true to some extent as long as you stay inside the car, the greater danger is that the fallen line can become entangled in the car’s axle or wheels. This could cause you to pull down the pole or could prevent you from being able to drive any further. Bottom line: do not drive over fallen power lines unless it is a last resort.


Fallen Lines on a Vehicle

Anyone who touches the vehicle while standing on the ground may be shocked or electrocuted. If it is your vehicle, sit quietly inside and wait for help to arrive. If bystanders arrive, roll down the window and shout to them to stand at least 30 feet clear of the vehicle so they are not shocked or electrocuted and ask them to call for help. YOU ARE SAFE INSIDE THE VEHICLE, like a bird on a wire, AS LONG AS YOU DO NOT STEP OUT AND TOUCH THE VEHICLE AND GROUND AT THE SAME TIME. Remember, the electricity is not only traveling through the vehicle but is also traveling in the ground around the area.

If the vehicle is on fire and it is necessary to leave it, keeping both feet together, jump clear of the car, avoiding any lines that might be on the ground. Stay calm and jump carefully so that you don’t fall back against the car or touch the ground and the vehicle at the same time. Then shuffle with both feet together clear of the area, keeping both feet on the ground and touching at all times. Continue shuffling for at least 30 feet from the accident site.