Only the electric utility can make a situation safe where there are wires, trees, vehicles, chain link fences, guard rails and electricity. There is nothing anyone else can do except keep all personnel safe at least 30 feet away, further if possible. No arc and spark means nothing, everything could still be “hot.”
Do nothing else until you hear from the utility person at the scene, “It’s dead and grounded!”
People trapped in the car? Call 911/Dispatch, and make sure to tell them to pass the information along to the utility. Utilities have priority response to situations where there are lives in immediate danger from wires. Communicate to the people in the car to STAY IN THE CAR! Inside the vehicle is always the safest place to be until the lines can be made DEAD and GROUNDED. If the occupant must leave the vehicle due to another hazard (fire), direct them to jump away from the vehicle and hop or shuffle to safety.
Was it luck or well-trained public works and first responders doing all the right things at the right places? Some would say probably a little luck, but I believe it’s mostly due to public works and first responders using their training. Your family needs you to come home; so never forget, no situation is safe until it’s “DEAD and GROUNDED.”
Article by Warren Rogers, C.S.P.