- Electricity will take all paths – not just the quickest path – to reach the ground.
- Any object can be a path for high voltage electricity that is carried in power lines either above or underground, or within padmount transformers.
- Electrical contact can cause electric shock. A person who has been shocked can be unable to disconnect themselves. Electric shock can cause burns, serious internal injuries or electrocution.
- Electrocution is the term used for a death caused by electrical contact.
- Touching any object that is itself connected to live electricity can result in you becoming a path to ground. For example, if you touch a tree or ladder that becomes energized by electricity, you become a path to ground. This is called touch potential.
- Point of contact refers to the place on an object or the ground that is touching the source of electricity.
- Electricity moves from high to low concentrations and spreads away from a point of contact on the ground in concentric circles. If a person is standing with one foot on an energized part of the ground and the other foot on a less energized piece of ground, electricity will move through the person. This is called step potential.
- The best way to move away from ground that is electrically charged is to shuffle or hop. You need to get farther than 10 metres from the ground’s point of contact.
- Shuffle with your feet close together. The heel of the front foot should not pass the toes of the back foot.
- Water is an excellent conductor of electricity. Water and electricity do not mix.
- High voltage electricity can move through all types of materials including metals, wood, rubber and soil.
- Stay at least three metres away from any power line that is above ground.
- Stay back at least 10 metres from a downed power line.
- Call 911 if you see a downed or damaged power line.
- Remember these three words: Down. Danger. Dial.
BC Hydro outages and safety is a great source for additional safety information.