Vehicle accidents and powerlines
Car accidents can sometimes impact electrical infrastructure, like powerlines or green pillar boxes.
When this happens, the accident scene may be electrified. This creates a serious electric shock risk for anyone involved in the crash, including bystanders and first responders.
If you witness a car accident and want to help, ‘take care, stay line aware’. Use the following precautions to stay safe:
- Stay in the vehicle. If you are a bystander, stay a minimum of 10 metres away from the vehicle and anything else in contact with power lines.
- Call triple zero (000) immediately to report fallen powerlines and life threatening situations.
- Wait for help. Treat all powerlines and other electrical equipment as 'live'.
IMPORTANT: If you’re involved in an accident that has impacted powerlines, do not leave your vehicle. You could be electrocuted. Stay in the vehicle until the power is isolated and powerlines removed.
If you must leave your vehicle, use the following steps to protect yourself from electric shock.
Vehicle accidents can bring down powerlines or cause damage to electrical equipment at ground level. In the event of an accident it's important to remember that the vehicle, and anything else such as fences and trees in contact with powerlines, could be 'live'.
If you are in a vehicle accident that involves power lines remember:
- Remain calm.
- Treat all powerlines or any other electrical equipment as ‘live’
- Stay in the vehicle until the power has been shut off and the power lines removed. If you leave the car before the area is made safe, you risk being electrocuted.
- Warn bystanders to stay a minimum of 10 metres away from the vehicle and anything else in contact with downed power lines.
- Don’t attempt to rescue or allow others to approach the vehicle if it is in contact or near downed power lines.
- STAY in the vehicle. CALL triple zero. WAIT for help.
So, what if it’s unsafe to stay in the vehicle?
If there’s immediate danger, like fire, assess your escape route and check for fallen powerlines.
- Exit the vehicle by jumping away from the vehicle, with both feet together.
- When jumping away, never touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time.
Once you have landed with both feet together, continue jumping in this manner - feet together bunny hop style. Alternatively, move by shuffling with your feet together, and don’t let your feet leave the ground.
- This is to reduce the risk of being shocked by electricity travelling through the ground.
- Continue moving away from the accident site in this manner until you are at least 10 metres away from the vehicle. Do not go back.
Remember, accidents do happen. If you’re in a vehicle, stay inside. If you’re a bystander, stay 10 metres away. Call triple zero and wait for help.