Be safe if you see a fallen power line this storm season

Downed power lines, involving storms and other incidents (detail)

Staying back from a fallen line could save your life

Wet ground, falling branches and trees, slippery roads — B.C.'s winter storm season brings a lot of challenges, including the higher chances of you encountering a fallen power line.

Fallen power lines are dangerous. You should always assume that a power line on the ground or dangling is live, even if it's no longer connected to a pole, or even if it isn't throwing sparks.

Keeping yourself and others far away from a fallen power line will help minimize the chances that you'll be fatally electrocuted.

Stay back about the length of a bus

How far back do you need to be from a fallen power line? About 10 metres (33 feet). To help you remember how far that is, imagine a standard-sized bus and keep that distance between you and the line.

Our visual guide will help you remember to stay back.

In addition to staying back yourself, call 911 and keep others away by reminding them that fallen power lines could still be carrying electricity.

If someone does receive an electrical shock, don't try to approach them. Stay back at least 10 metres; electricity is most likely still present and will harm you. Instead, call 911 and continue to keep others away.

Fallen power lines are an emergency; call 911

If you encounter a fallen power line, call 911. Fallen lines are an emergency, and the emergency responders will work with BC Hydro crews to make the area safe. Never approach the line or anyone within 10 metres of it.

The same is true if you see a motor vehicle accident where a vehicle has hit a power pole or transformer. The vehicle might be energized with electricity and you could be electrocuted.

See exactly what to do if your car hits a power pole and use our visual guide to help you remember how to stay safe.