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Electrical Safety FAQ for Severe Weather


What should I do if I am caught outside during a lightning storm?

  • Move to a low point. Lightning hits the tallest available object, so get down low in a crouched position if you are in an exposed area.
  • Avoid metal. Don’t hold onto metal items like bats, golf clubs, fishing rods or tools.
  • Stay away from water and anything damp — like grass.
  • Don’t stand close to other people. Spread out.

Is there any sort of warning before lightning strikes?

If you feel a tingling sensation or your hair stands on end, lightning may be about to strike. Do not lie down. Instead, crouch down, tuck your head, and cover your ears.

What should I do if I encounter lightning while driving in my car?

Slow down and use extra caution. If possible, pull off the road into a safe area. A vehicle is considered safe during a thunderstorm.

Are we safe from lightning inside the house?

To avoid lightning strikes, stay away from windows and doors. If possible, unplug electronic equipment, or use a smart power strip. Avoid contact with water and plumbing.

I have an outside dog. Is it OK to leave him out there during a storm?

Doghouses are not lightning-safe, and chained animals can easily become victims of lightning strikes. Bring your pets inside to protect them.

Downed Power Lines

What should I do if I encounter a downed power line?

Move at least 50 feet away from the line and anything touching it. The human body is a conductor of electricity. Do not drive over downed power lines. Call 911.

What can I do to help someone who has come in contact with a downed line?

Call 911. If you see someone who is in direct or indirect contact, do not touch the person. You could become the next victim.

Can I use something that is not metal to try to move it myself?

Do not attempt to move a downed line or anything in contact with it by using another object, such as a broom or stick. Even nonconductive materials like wood, if slightly wet, can conduct electricity.

What if a power line falls onto my car or I didn’t see it until I’ve driven into it?

Stay in your car. Tell others to stay away from your vehicle. If you must leave your car because it’s on fire, jump out of the vehicle with both feet together, and avoid contact with the live car and the ground at the same time. This way, you avoid being the path of electricity from the car to the earth. Shuffle away from the car. Call 911.

Is a downed power line still dangerous if it has fallen in water?

Water is a conductor of electricity. Any amount of water —even a puddle — could become energized. Be careful not to touch water or anything in contact with the water.

Be alert and stay safe during severe weather season. Report outages by calling 888-771-7772 or using our SmartHub app. 

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