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Downed Power Lines

To report downed electrical wires, children playing near power lines and other emergency situations, please call 911.

Guelph Hydro reminds customers that downed power lines or trees coming in contact with overhead wires can be deadly.

  • Always assume that downed power lines are energized. Live wires do not necessarily spark and dance like they do in the movies.
  • Never try to move downed wires or remove tree limbs.
  • Keep people and pets at least 20 metres (65 feet) away and warn others of the danger.
  • When cleaning up after a storm, make absolutely sure that no power lines are near before cutting or trimming damaged trees or removing debris from your property.

Why stay 20 metres away from a downed power line?

If a broken power line falls to the ground or lands on a vehicle, electricity will flow to the ground and spread out in concentric circles like the ripples in a pool of water.

Voltage is very high at the point where electricity makes contact with the ground. The level of intensity decreases as the distance increases from the point of contact. Zero voltage is approximately 10 metres (33 feet) from the point of contact. If you stay 20 metres away, you should be safe.

If your vehicle makes contact with an energized line

If your vehicle makes contact with an energized line, stay inside until help arrives. If your vehicle is on fire and you must get out, jump out with your feet together and shuffle away, never allowing the heel of one foot to move beyond the toe of the other. If you cannot shuffle the 20 metres (65 feet) away from the energized area, put your feet together and hop - but never walk or make contact with the ground and your vehicle at the same time. Keep your feet together until you are 20 metres (65 feet) from the point of contact.

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