Officials are warning of the dangers of downed power lines after someone put caution tape on one in Cowichan Bay after a snowstorm last February. (Submitted photo)

Downed power lines can be deadly, so don’t touch: officials

Public warned to stay away and call 911

The act of a Good Samaritan in Cowichan Bay after a snowstorm last February could have cost the person’s life.

The Samaritan had come across a downed power line caught in a tree across a road and placed caution tape on the line to warn other motorists.

But an official from BC Hydro said the power line was live at the time and carried 14,000 volts of electricity, which is enough power to instantly kill anyone who came into contact with it.

“There’s no doubt that the person who put the caution tape on the line had good intentions,” said Jonny Knowles, the public safety lead for BC Hydro.

“But electricity has no forgiveness and that person was lucky not to have been injured. As storm season approaches again, we wanted to get the word out as to what people should do if they come across a downed power line.”

Knowles said the best strategy is the three “D”s; down, danger, dial.

He said that means if you encounter a downed power line, you should recognize that it’s a danger and dial 911 right away.

Knowles said that 911 should be called and not BC Hydro because it’s an emergency situation and 911 operators can work faster to contact first responders and BC Hydro crews to get them to the scene.

“You should then stay back 10 metres, which is about the length of a large school bus, from the power line, flash your lights and warn other drivers and pedestrians about the line and to stay away from it until emergency crews arrive,” Knowles said.

“You want to stay at least 10 metres away from the line because electricity dissipates the further it is away from its source.”

Knowles said that if you are unfortunate enough to be in a situation where a downed power line falls across your vehicle while you’re in it, you should stay in your vehicle until emergency crews arrive to avoid the possibility of being electrocuted.

He said you should also advise anyone trying to get to your vehicle to help you to stay at least 10 metres away.

Knowles said, however, that if you see fire or smoke coming from your vehicle, then you should exit, hop out onto the ground with your two feet together and make sure you don’t touch the ground and the vehicle at the same time.

He said touching the vehicle while stepping onto the ground at the same time could allow the electricity to use you as a conduit between the vehicle and the ground and you could be electrocuted.

“Once you’re on the ground, you should then shuffle away with your feet tight together for at least 10 metres,” he said.

Knowles explained that there is a higher risk of electrocution, with the electricity developing a current in your body, if your feet are different distances from the voltage source.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New ACT team will help Cowichan residents struggling with mental health issues

The Cowichan Valley ACT team will be one of six new teams being created across the province.

Duncan man at large after massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Bob Day making another run for mayor of Lake Cowichan

Day has served 10 years as town councillor

Ross Forrest eyes the mayor’s chair in Lake Cowichan again

Forrest served 10 years as mayor before losing the last election

Prescribed burn for the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve

Between Sept. 27 and Oct. 9, if and when site and weather conditions become favourable.

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Money laundering inquiry delayed over of B.C. election: commissioner

Austin Cullen says the hearings will start again on Oct. 26

Most Read