Stay safe around power lines | BCHydro Power Smart for Schools

Staying safe around a fallen power line

What do you do if you see a downed power line?

Activity Image
2, 3
40 mins


Staying back from a fallen line could save your life. Damaged and fallen power lines are dangerous, so it's important to remind students to stay back and call 911 when they see a downed line.

BC Hydro


What you'll need


Start with what you know

  1. What are some of the ways students know how to stay safe?
    • What’s the safe thing to do before crossing the road?
    • What should you do if you need something from a high shelf at home?
    • What’s the safe thing to do if you see something cooking on the stove?
  2. What about electricity - what are some of the ways they know about staying safe near electricity?
    • Don’t stick fingers or objects in an outlet.
    • Keep metal objects out of toasters.
    • Never use anything with a cord or plug around water.

Watch the video

  1. Ask if students have seen power lines around their neighbourhood.
  2. Show students the video above.
  3. Discuss the video.
    • Has anyone seen a downed or damaged power line? What did they do about it?
    • The video tells us that fallen or damaged power lines are an emergency. Stay back the length of a school bus (10 metres) and dial 911. Ask an adult for help to call 911 if needed.
  4. Show students the video again to remind them what types of damaged power lines they might come across.
    • If a power line is down, it is dangerous. Ask an adult to dial 911
    • Stay back 10 metres.

Practice staying back 10 metres

  1. Show everyone what 10 metres looks like.
    • If there’s a school bus on site, that’s about 10 metres in length, or
    • Measure 10 metres with giant strides or a metre stick.
  2. Act out the scenario from the video. Use “Down, danger, dial” as a reminder of what to do, and that you always ask an adult to dial 911.
  3. Practice staying a safe distance away by laying a rope or other object down on the ground and creating a circle 10 metres away from the object. Students can move around, as long as they stay outside the circle.

Modify or extend this activity

  • Have students make Down. Danger. Dial. posters that can be displayed outside the classroom and/or taken home to spread the message.
  • Work with students to prepare a role-play scenario that they could present to other classes in an assembly or at home.
  • Connect ideas from the video in this activity to the "Be safe around electricity" activity.

Curriculum Fit

Grades 2, 3 Physical and Health Education


  • Strategies and skills to use in potentially hazardous situations

Curricular competency

Social and community health
  • Identify and describe avoidance or assertiveness strategies to use in unsafe and/or uncomfortable situations

Teaching Notes

A downed power line is an electrical wire that has fallen to the ground due to a storm or some kind of accident. Above ground power lines are held in the air by power poles for our safety. If they come down for some reason, there is danger of electrocution to anyone standing within 10 metres of the downed power line. A large school bus is about 10 metres in length so this is a good way to visualize the length.

The rules for staying safe around a downed power line are very easy to remember: 

Down. Danger. Dial. If you come across a downed power line, it is dangerous even without touching it because the electricity can travel across the pavement (the ground can conduct electricity). To stay safe, stay back at least 10 metres, and dial 911 to report the emergency.


Assess student participation in the outdoor activity and the classroom discussions. 

Join the Power Smart for Schools community to access:

  • Email newsletter to keep you up-to-date
  • Special events and contests with great prizes
  • Premium, time-limited education resources
  • Dashboard to organize and save your favourite activities and lessons
Sign up