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What to do if you see a downed power line after stormy weather in Florida

FEMA: Polk, Pasco, Citrus, Hernando not eligible
Posted at 12:08 PM, Apr 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-13 10:30:54-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Floridians are no strangers to stormy weather, and with that can come strong winds resulting in downed power lines. These lines are dangerous and should never be touched because they can cause serious injury or even death.

TECO and Duke Energy say you should follow these guidelines if you see power lines that have fallen or are sagging:

  • Assume all downed wires are energized power lines and move a safe distance away.
    • While some energized wires spark and snap, others may not appear dangerous.
  • Never touch power lines, anyone or anything in contact with lines.
    • This could include a fence or other objects, such as trees or limbs, a line may fall onto.
    • If a power line falls across a car that you're in, stay in the car until professional assistance arrives. Warn others not to come near the car. If you must get out because of a fire or other immediate life-threatening situation, do your best to jump clear of the car and land on both feet. Be sure that no part of your body is touching the car when your feet touch the ground.
    How to escape vehicle on fire if power line falls across it, per Duke Energy

    • Never drive over downed power lines.
    • Avoid floodwaters that can hide energized power lines and other hazards, or put you at risk of drowning.
    • Keep children and family pets away from areas where lines may have fallen (backyards, fields, schoolyards, etc.).
    • Report downed power lines to your energy company, or 911 in case of an emergency.
      • TECO: 877-588-1010
      • Duke Energy: 800-228-8485

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    The following video from Duke Energy shows what happens when people, vehicles, ladders and other objects come in contact with a power line:

    What happens when people, vehicles, ladders and other objects come in contact with a power line