Skip ribbon commands
Skip to main content

​What to do if you make contact with a power line

Direct or indirect contact with an overhead power line or other electrical infrastructure can cause serious injuries or death. If you contact a power line or transformer with your vehicle or equipment, knowing your next steps could save your life.

 

 

Report an emergency. Call us 24/7.

If there is a fire or a threat to life, call 911 immediately. Otherwise, call us at EPCOR Power Emergencies.
  Call (780) 412-4500


 

Assessing the situation

Learn more

Safe work practices

Learn more

First aid for electrical injuries

Learn more

​Stay in your vehicle/equipment cab and assess the situation

If your vehicle or equipment comes into contact with a power line or transformer, stop moving and assess the situation to minimize the danger to yourself and others.

If your vehicle or equipment is tangled with a power line, do not attempt to untangle it as it can potentially cause further damage.

  If you can safely remove your vehicle from the scene:

  • Carefully drive a safe distance (at least 10 metres/33 feet) from the power equipment.
  • Call 911. They will make sure the scene is secured until we can get an EPCOR crew to turn off the power and ensure the area is safe.
  • Don't go near the damaged electrical equipment. Keep yourself and others at least 10 metres away.

  If you can't safely remove your vehicle from the scene:

  • Stay inside your vehicle.
  • Call 911. They will make sure the scene is secured until we can get an EPCOR crew to turn off the power and ensure the area is safe.
  • Wait inside your vehicle until an EPCOR employee can open the door for you. They will give you instructions on how to exit your vehicle safely and what to do next.
  • Try to keep others at least 10 metres away from your vehicle and the damaged power equipment.

  If there is a fire at the scene:

Only attempt the following steps if it is no longer safe to remain in your vehicle or equipment.

  • If there is a fire and you need to exit your vehicle, stay calm. For your safety, you'll need to move away in a controlled manner.
  • Exit by jumping clear of the vehicle. Keep your feet close together and try to land on the ground with both feet at the same time.
  • Never touch your vehicle and the ground at the same time.
  • Don't reach back into the vehicle.
  • Move away from the vehicle by shuffling your feet, always keep both feet together and on the ground. Shuffle at least 10 metres away.
  • Do not return to your vehicle.
  • Call 911 and keep yourself and others at least 10 metres away from the vehicle and damaged power equipment.

Keep others away from the source

Tell others to stay back at least 10 metres. They may want to come to your aid, but they'll only be putting both of you at risk.

Call 911 or Power Emergencies

Call 911 or Power Emergencies immediately and tell them the exact location.

Power Emergencies

Ph: (780) 412-4500

Call us 24/7

We'll dispatch an EPCOR trouble truck to turn off the power and ensure the area is safe.

​Safe work practices around electrical equipment

Power line voltage from electrical equipment has enough power to cause serious injury or worse. When working near or around overhead lines, underground power lines, or other electrical equipment it is important for everyone to practice electrical safety. Stay safe around power equipment; plan your work to make sure you are 7 metres away from overhead power lines, and get locates for any underground electrical infrastructure. 

Consequences of coming into contact with electrical source

Electric shock, burns or Arc Flash burns that occur from direct or indirect contact with electrical infrastructure are serious injuries and could result in death.

  Electric shock

Electric shock can cause damage to the nerves and organs in the body, especially the heart (can cause fibrillation).

  Electric burns

Electric burns produced by contact with a power source can be mild, superficial, or severe depending on the circumstances of the contact. Exterior electrical burns can be misleading because most of the damage occurs underneath the skin. These burns tend to develop from the inside out and will continue to progress hours after the contact. They can result in loss of a limb.

  Arc flash burns and injuries

What is an arc flash? Arc flashes are electrical explosions that happen when electric current flows through an air gap between conductors. Arc flashes expel deadly amounts of energy and can reach temperatures as high as 19,400°C — that's almost four times hotter than the sun. Even from a distance, that heat can set fire to clothing and burn human skin within milliseconds.

Arc flash events can ignite or melt clothing resulting in further burns, and can also cause burns to the eyes and respiratory tract. Victims often require grafts or amputations, death is a possibility with the increased severity of the burn and percent of body area affected.

Arc flashes also release explosive sound and pressure waves, sometimes with enough strength to knock workers off balance and rupture eardrums, causing hearing loss. The pressure blast of an arc flash can result in impact injury from being thrown, falling from a height, or colliding with nearby objects.

​First aid for electrical injuries

If you witness or are aware of an electrical injury, remember that your first priority is to ensure your own safety.

  1. Do not attempt to help a person who has been electrically shocked or burned until the source of electricity has been removed.
  2. Call 911 to report the injury.
  3. If it is safe to do so, provide first aid by assessing consciousness, checking for a pulse and circulation, and treating burns (if possible). Focus on life saving measures as instructed in first aid. These types of injuries are usually far beyond first aid measures and require a timely and professional medical response.


 

How we can help you work safe

If you are working within 7 metres of our overhead power equipment or digging within 1 metre of underground distribution power equipment, please take the time to do it safely. Familiarize yourself with the Alberta safety codes.
Find out how we can help

 


Disclaimer

This webpage provides information only. Any reliance placed on this information is strictly at your own risk. EPCOR does not assume any responsibility or liability for any action, loss or damage that arises out of, or is in connection with the information contained in this webpage.