Downed Power Lines & Electrical Emergencies

If You See a Downed Power Line, You Should Always:

Stop Sign

STOP: Stay At Least 30 Feet Away

  • Assume any downed or low-hanging power line is energized and dangerous. An energized line may not spark, smoke or make any noise.
  • Stay at least 30 feet away from downed distribution lines
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from downed tranmission lines.  

Distribution Lines

Transmission Lines


LOOK: Survey the Area for Objects that May Be Energized

  • Carefully survey the area. Downed lines can energize the ground and nearby objects.
  • Keep the same distance from anything else that could be energized, instruct others to stay away.

LIVE: Call 911 to Report the Downed Power Line

  • The 911 operator will report the downed line to FirstEnergy. Never approach or attempt to move a line under any circumstances.
  • Customers with a communication disability can report a downed wire using the appropriate TTY/TDD relay service.
Safety Shield

Other Tips for Staying Safe Around Downed Power Lines

  • Do not stand under or near damaged trees or damaged utility equipment. Damaged objects and equipment could be unstable and fall at any time.
  • Do not drive over or under damaged lines.
  • Always obey road closure signs and barricades.
  • Never approach a utility worker unless they have confirmed it is safe to do so.
  • Learn more on how to stay safe around electricity on our Public Safety page.

What Should I Do If a Line Falls On My Vehicle?

  • Downed power lines in contact with a vehicle create a dangerous situation for drivers, passengers, bystanders, Good Samaritans and first responders.  
  • If your vehicle is in contact with a power line or other electrical equipment:
    • Move the vehicle away from the line or equipment if you can do so safely. 
    • If the vehicle cannot be moved, stay inside until electric utility workers notify you it is safe to exit. 
    • Call 911 immediately to report the emergency. 
    • Warn others to stay at least 30 feet away.
    • If you must exit the vehicle due to a fire or other imminent danger, do NOT touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Jump clear, land with your feet together and shuffle at least 30 feet away while keeping your feet close together and on the ground at all times. Do not return to the vehicle.

Watch the below video for safety tips for vehicle accidents involving utility equipment.


Downed Wire Frequently Asked Questions

Electrical Emergencies

Report electrical emergencies by contacting 911 immediately. It's important to provide the exact location when reporting an electric emergency. Please provide the following information:

  • The nature of the emergency and whether personal injury or danger is involved
  • The town, street name and house number
  • The nearest cross street and direction (north, east, south or west) from the location
  • The pole number, if you can safely view it
  • The phone number or the nearest phone number at the location if available
  • If the emergency is on private property, please give the location (front, side or rear).

Other Safety Tips:

  • When hauling a boat, make sure it clears overhead power lines and stay away from power lines when sailing.
  • Stay away from electric company equipment where warning signs are posted, such as at a substation. Do not climb a substation fence under any circumstances, and warn children to stay away.
  • Don't shoot at or otherwise damage insulators on utility poles. This is extremely dangerous and against the law. Insulators keep electricity from traveling down the pole. If an insulator is broken off or damaged, anyone coming in contact with the pole could be injured or killed.

Learn what to do in the event of an electrical fire or electrical accident.

State Emergency Management Agencies

For more emergency contacts, visit your state's Emergency Management Agency, with links to local Offices of Emergency Management:

Still Need Help?

Contact Us with your questions.