Broken snapped wooden power line post with electrical components on the ground after a storm

Downed and Dangerous Power Lines

Downed Power Line

Downed power lines can be energized and deadly. Know what to do when you encounter a downed power line. It can save your life. 


  • Immediately call 911 to report any downed power lines, and then notify Great Lakes Energy at 888-485-2537. 
  • Stay at least 35 feet or more away from any downed power line. Downed power lines can energize the ground up to 35 feet away, even further in wet conditions.
  • Shuffle away from downed power lines with small steps, keeping your feet together and on the ground at all times. Avoid lifting your feet.
  • If someone comes in contact with a downed power line or something else that has become electrified, call 911 immediately.


  • Don’t touch a downed power line. Always assume downed power lines are energized and dangerous.
  • Don’t attempt to move the line. Even using items that typically are not conductive will not prevent injury or death.
  • Don’t drive over downed power lines or through water that is in contact with them.
  • Don’t run. Shuffle away, with both feet on the ground, to a safe distance.
  • Don’t touch fences, guardrails, vehicles, or anything else in contact with downed power lines. They can be energized and pose a hazard.
  • Don’t touch someone who has come in contact with a power line. The person is energized and poses a danger to anyone who comes in contact with them.

If your car is in contact with a downed power line while you are inside the vehicle:

  • Do stay in the car.
  • Do not touch any part of the car’s frame or any other metal.
  • Use a cell phone or honk your horn to summon help. Allow only rescue personnel to approach the car.

If you must exit the car due to fire or other imminent threats:

  • Do not touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time with any part of your body or clothing.
  • Open the door to your vehicle without touching the metal door frame.
  • Jump out of the vehicle with both feet together so both feet land at the same time.
  • Shuffle away, so the toe of one foot shuffles forward along the length of the other foot, ensuring that both feet are in constant contact and always touching the ground.


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