OUTAGE: Electric 913.573.9522 | Water 913.573.9622
Electric 913.573.9522
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Be Aware of and Safe Around Downed Power Lines

Be Aware of and Safe Around Downed Power Lines

(KANSAS CITY, Kan.) — Power lines crisscross the community bringing electricity to homes, businesses, ball fields, parks, and more. These lines, along with transformers and other electric grid infrastructure, can be taken down by toppled trees and broken limbs caused by severe weather including thunderstorms, tornadoes, or just high winds. Understanding what to do and not do if you come across a downed electric line is important to keeping yourself, loved ones, pets, and others safe.

When a live wire touches the ground, electricity fans out through the ground like when a pebble hits water. Humans, animals, and others can easily be shocked when in the vicinity of a downed power line. Keep clear of fallen utility wires, and always assume a utility line is live and carrying electricity.

If you come across a downed utility wire of any kind, do the following:

  • Assume it's Energized and Stay as Far Away as Possible
    Energized lines can charge the ground near the point of contact and may electrocute you. If you come upon a downed line of any kind stay at least 35 feet away, about the length of a school bus.
  • Call 911 or BPU at 913-573-9522 Immediately
    Leave everything to utility professionals and emergency personnel.
  • Don’t Drive Over Downed Lines
    Even if they're not energized downed wires can get entangled in a vehicle and cause further damage. If you must evacuate a vehicle, jump away and land with both feet together – without touching the vehicle.
  • Shuffle Away to Safety
    When moving away from a downed line, shuffle your feet in small steps keeping your feet together, and on the ground at all times. This minimizes the risk of a strong electric shock.
  • Do Not Attempt to Rescue a Person or Pet
    If you see someone in direct or indirect contact with a downed line, do not touch them. You could become the next victim. Call 911 for help.

Additional Electric Safety Tips can also be found on BPU’s website. The municipal utility’s KidPower Webpage also includes helpful videos and other unique resources to teach children about indoor and outdoor electric safety. For more information, go to www.BPU.com.

About BPU

BPU’s water department was originally created in 1909, and its electric utility was operational in 1912. The purpose of the utility, then and to this day, is to provide the highest quality electric and water services at the lowest possible cost. Today the publicly owned utility serves approximately 67,000 electric and 53,000 water customers, primarily in Wyandotte County, Kansas. The mission of the utility and its employees is “to focus on the needs of our customers, to improve the quality of life in our community while promoting safe, reliable and sustainable utilities.” BPU’s Web site is www.bpu.com.



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Kansas City, KS 66101-2930
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