If an electrical emergency occurs, it's important to know how to respond.
If someone comes in contact with an energized wire or power line, do not touch the victim until you're sure the current has been turned off—you could become part of the circuit and be injured or killed. Unplug the device or cut power at the service panel first.
When you're sure the power has been turned off, call for emergency assistance. If the victim isn't breathing, administer CPR until help arrives. If the victim is in shock, loosen clothing and keep him or her horizontal and warm. Burns should be treated only by medical professionals.
Always seek medical help for an electrical contact accident, no matter how minor it appears. Electricity burns from the inside out, so injuries might not be visible. In addition, the heart can be affected several hours later.
- If possible, unplug the device or shut off the power at the main service panel.
- Never use water on an electrical fire—use a multipurpose fire extinguisher.
- When calling 911, be sure to tell the dispatcher it's an electrical fire.
- Report downed power lines to your electric company immediately.
- Never let anyone touch or drive over a downed line—even experienced utility personnel can't tell if a line is energized just by looking at it.
- Avoid touching anything a downed line is contacting, especially metal fences and equipment. Remember that the area around the downed line, including the soil, equipment or other objects, could also be energized.
- If a downed line comes in contact with a vehicle or farm equipment, instruct the driver to stay in the vehicle until help arrives. If there is an immediate danger of a vehicle fire, the driver should jump out of the vehicle, landing with both feet together and avoiding touching both the car and the ground at the same time. The driver should then shuffle away from the vehicle without raising his or her feet.
Download the “Electrical Safety on Your Farm” brochure [PDF]
Download the Farm Electrical Safety Checklist [PDF]