Safe or unsafe?

Spot dangerous situations around power lines and shuffle to safety.

Activity Image
K, 1
30 mins


Learn to spot safe and unsafe situations around electricity and power lines. Play a game and sort pictures to find out what is safe and unsafe around power lines and how to shuffle to safety.

BC Hydro


What you'll need

  • “Safe or unsafe” game pictures
  • "How far is 10 metres" video
  • “Safe or unsafe” signs, print and cut one copy
  • “Sort and stay safe” student handout, print one copy per group, plan for two to three students per group
  • Scissors for each student

Safe or unsafe

  1. Do the activity “Safety sing-along” and/or have a class discussion about electricity, how it travels through power lines outdoors, and how to spot dangerous and unsafe situations with power lines. Remind students of Down. Danger. Dial.; if a power line is DOWN, it’s a DANGER, so you must stay away and DIAL 911.
  2. Play the video with Dave teaching us how to shuffle to move safely away from fallen power lines. If we are close to a downed or damaged power line, always shuffle away from it. Don’t go too fast or lift your feet or let your feet go ahead of each other. Ask students to stand up and copy Dave by shuffling safely.
  3. Pull up the “Safe or unsafe” game pictures to play a game and learn how to move away safely if we are close to the danger.
  4. Explain we will play a game to practice identifying danger and safely shuffle away. 
  5. Print the “Safe or unsafe” signs, cut and tape the ‘Safe’ sign at one side of the classroom and the ‘Unsafe’ sign at the other side. 
  6. At slide 2 explain to students they will start in the middle of the room, you will show them an image, and they will decide if it’s a safe or unsafe situation. If it’s safe they can skip to the ‘Safe’ green zone, and if it’s unsafe they need to shuffle to the ‘Unsafe’ red zone and call out, “Down. Danger. Dial." when they get there. Ask students to return to the middle of the room and show the next image. The images are:
    • Slide 3 shows person climbing a power pole. A: Unsafe
    • Slide 4 shows birds sitting on the power line. A: Safe
    • Slide 5 shows car accident with a power pole. A: Unsafe
    • Slide 6 shows squirrels sitting on the power line. A: Safe
    • Slide 7 shows power line touching the ground. A: Unsafe
    • Slide 8 shows people walking and biking around safe power lines. A: Safe
    • Slide 9 shows person flying a kite close to power lines. A: Unsafe
    • Slide 10 shows trees fallen on power lines. A: Unsafe

Sort and stay safe

  1. Arrange students in small groups of two to three students and provide each group with one copy of the “Sort and stay safe” student handout. Students, working together in their groups, cut out all of the images. Sort the images into unsafe or safe categories by placing the images on the ‘Unsafe’ red stop sign or the ‘Safe’ green circle. 
  2. As a class, debrief the sort and discuss that it’s important to recognize that if there is danger around power lines, remember Down. Danger. Dial. and shuffle to a safe distance away before dialling 911.

Modify or extend this activity


  • Pull up the “How far is 10 metres” activity to learn more about safety around power lines by shuffling, and staying away at least 10 metres.

Curriculum Fit

Grade K, 1 Applied Design, Skills and Technologies

Big ideas

  • Skills can be developed through play

Curricular competencies

Applied skills
  • Use materials, tools, and technologies in a safe manner in both physical and digital environments 
  • Develop their skills and add new ones through play and collaborative work
Applied technologies
  • Explore the use of simple, available tools and technologies to extend their capabilities

Grade K, 1 Physical and Health Education


  • Hazards and potentially unsafe situations

Curricular competencies

Social and community health
  • Identify and describe a variety of unsafe and/or uncomfortable situations

Teaching Notes

Electrical safety tips around power lines

  • Don't climb on power poles
  • Never fly kites near power lines
  • Stay away from broken or fallen power lines
  • Never touch or climb trees that are near power lines
  • Never touch big, metal transformer boxes with warning signs
  • Obey warning signs
  • Stay away from substations and power lines

Electrical safety, electricity and power lines

Power lines are conductive meaning the electrical current runs through them with the least resistance. However if something makes contact with a live power line like a tree, kite, or ladder, the electrical current may flow to the ground. The place where the current touches the ground is the highest voltage and from that point the electrical current spreads out in irregular concentric circles. The voltage or electrical intensity decreases as it moves further from the source. A safe distance from the source of contact, like a downed power line, is 10 metres or more. 

Electricity has the ability to find its way through touch to get to the ground. If a kite gets tangled in a power line, the electrical current could travel through the kite and you to reach the ground. Birds do not get zapped when standing on a power line, however they would if they straddled two power lines, or touch their beak to the ground while standing on the power line.  

If there is a power line on the ground, you need to move away from the source (where it touches the ground). However electricity has the ability to move through your body as you step away from the source of electricity. As electrical current flows through the ground the voltage decreases in concentric rings or ripples as you move further from the source. So, if you move away by lifting one foot, the change in voltage between the concentric rings can travel up one leg and down the other. Instead by keeping your legs together and shuffling your feet, the electrical current will stay in the ground. 10 metres is the safe distance calculated based on the voltage in the power lines here in B.C.


  • Assess students’ ability to identify safe and dangerous situations around power lines.
  • Assess students’ knowledge of Down. Danger. Dial. and to call 911 if they see a fallen or damaged power line.
  • Assess students’ ability to shuffle away from a downed or damaged power line.


Select the materials you require for this activity or download all

Safe Or Unsafe Signs

13.9 kb pdf

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