Downed Power Line Safety Tips

Downed Power Lines

Fallen electric lines are extremely dangerous and can cause injury or possibly even death. Don’t risk your safety or the safety of those around you. Instead, your actions can help avoid creating a hazardous situation. These tips can help you stay safe when you encounter downed power lines and when working around overhead or underground electric lines.

What if my vehicle comes in contact with a downed power line?

  1. If an overhead wire falls across your vehicle while you are driving, avoid stopping. Instead, continue to drive away from the line. If your vehicle stalls, remain calm and stay inside your vehicle until emergency help arrives.
  2. If your vehicle hits a power pole or electrical equipment, such as a pad-mounted transformer box, remain inside the vehicle and call 9-1-1 immediately. The ground around your vehicle may be energized. 
  3. Wait for emergency crews to arrive to de-energize the equipment and don't get out of the vehicle until they tell you it's safe to do so. 
  4. Warn others not to touch the vehicle and direct them to call 9-1-1 or SDG&E from a safe distance. Anyone who comes into contact with the vehicle or the ground around the vehicle can be injured. 
  5. If you must leave the vehicle for safety reasons, open the door or window and jump clear without touching the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Be careful not to fall back against the vehicle and make sure to avoid touching any wires on the ground.

How can I stay updated about an unplanned outage caused by a downed or broken power line?

Stay informed with outage notifications by making sure your contact information is up-to-date and your notifications preferences are updated:

  1. Go to and create an account or update your current information
  2. Click on the "Alerts and Subscriptions" tab
  3. Select ‘Outage Notifications’ from the drop-down menu
  4. From there, choose the way you want to stay informed

You can view outages on SDG&E’s Outage Map  or on your mobile device by downloading SDG&E’s Mobile App.

How can I stay safe if I work near overhead electric lines?

Within 50 feet of your property in San Diego County and within 30 feet of your property in Orange County, plant low-growing, fire-resistant plants. Visit your local nursery for advice on which plants are recommended for your home.

  1. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, especially when working in close proximity to overhead electric lines.
  2. Keep all machinery, equipment and materials such as scaffolding, tools, boat masts, fruit-picking poles, antennas, satellite dishes, pool skimmer handles, metal ladders, etc. and any people at least 10 feet away from the lines.
  3. If it looks like lines will be in your way, call SDG&E at 1-800-411-SDGE. Depending on the nature of your job, SDG&E might be able to turn off the electricity, cover the lines or even move them temporarily while you complete your work.
  4. Remember: freeing a person or animal from an electric line should only be attempted by a qualified electrical worker.