Electrical Hazard Demo: Why you shouldn’t go near downed power lines

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GRETNA, La. (WGNO) - Firefighters, police officers, emergency medical services and public works employees throughout Jefferson Parish were invited by Entergy Louisiana to attend Electric Safety Awareness Training Sessions Tuesday morning.

Entergy personnel used the company’s “Arcs & Sparks” mobile demonstration rig as part of a safety program about the dangers of working around power lines.

Entergy linemen pulled an 8,000-volt electrical arc off a model of an energized distribution line by making contact with various grounded objects – including a tree branch, a ladder, and a fence. Each exercise commands attention and creates a vivid memory for all of the dangers of electricity.

This event served as a timely reminder to all emergency responders and Public Works personnel of the need to be aware of potential electrical safety hazards. The dramatic sights and sounds from the demonstration are highly effective warnings to both emergency responders and the public of the dangers posed by energized power lines. This is one in a series of training sessions being conducted in connection with Severe Storms Awareness Week in Louisiana.

If you ever see a suspicious or dangerous situation, call 1-800-Entergy immediately.

Here's more information from Entergy:

  • Even if they don't hum, spark, or "dance," downed lines can be dangerous.
  • If you see one, carefully move away from the line and anything it is touching. Instruct others in the area to do the same.
  • Call 911 and the electric company to report the line.
  • Downed lines are most common after storms and high winds. If you are outside after a storm, be alert for lines that may be obscured by streams or standing water.
  • The correct technique for moving away from a downed line is to shuffle with your feet together and on the ground. Fight the urge to run, and warn others not to run. This is because when a live wire touches the ground, electricity travels through the ground in all directions. Voltage decreases as it travels from the center where the live wire is touching the ground. If you run or take large steps, you increase the chance that electricity could come up one leg and go out the other, and you could be shocked.

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