Columbus, Neb. – As a part of Severe Weather Awareness Week March 22-28, Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) wants to emphasize the danger of broken or downed powerlines.
Severe weather conditions, such as high winds and lighting, can cause a structure or powerline to be damaged or break. This can leave a live powerline either floating in the air or laying on the ground, creating a dangerous situation.
“When a powerline is lying on the ground or over a roadway, it can charge the ground around it with electricity, and if anyone were to get too close to that line it could result in a potentially fatal situation,” says NPPD Vice-President of Energy Delivery Art Wiese. “If someone comes across a downed powerline, they should avoid the area and call their local power utility or 911, so trained professionals can deenergize the line and make sure it’s repaired safely.”
If a situation occurred where a powerline fell on a vehicle, it’s important the driver and passengers remain inside the vehicle until help can arrive. The powerline could electrically charge the vehicle and exiting could cause serious or fatal injury.
“When someone is in this type of situation, we ask them to remain in the vehicle and call 911 for help,” notes Wiese. “If something like a fire, forces you to exit the vehicle, you should make sure you get to the edge of your vehicle and jump away landing on two feet, never touching the ground and vehicle at the same time. Then shuffle away from the vehicle until you’re at a safe distance.”
When severe weather conditions are anticipated, NPPD crews from around the state prepare for an emergency response. “We have to first determine the extent of damage, bring in the necessary crews, and then begin the work of restoration,” Wiese added.
Tips on safety precautions during a power outage are available at Electrical Safety (nppd.com).