To teach students what to do if a power line falls on their car or on the road.
If a car you are in hits a power pole or has a power line fall on it, do not get out. You are safe in the car, because electricity from the power line will use the metal of the car as a conductor for its path to the ground, not you. For this reason, it’s safest not to touch any of the metal in the car, like the radio.
Stay in the car until utility workers come to tell you it’s okay to get out of the car. (Not all rescue workers are trained to deal with energized power lines, so only utility workers can tell you when it’s safe.) Anyone who touches the car and the ground at the same time could be hurt or killed, so if passersby approach the car, warn them to stay far away.
In case of fire, you will need to get out of the car. To do so, jump out as far from the car as you can, and don’t touch any part of the car or ground at the same time. Land with your feet together, and shuffle 20 yards away from the car, keeping both feet on the ground at all times.
If you see a fallen power line but you are not trapped in a car, stay far away from the line. Always assume that a downed power line is live, and that the ground around it could be charged with electricity. Stay at least 20 yards away from any downed power lines. Even if the line is not sparking or humming, it could be carrying electricity. Don’t touch the line or anything it is touching, like a tree or fence. Call 911 to report any fallen lines.
Ask students to practice the emergency exit procedure for leaving a car with a power line on it in case of fire. First have them practice jumping off their chairs with feet together as far out as they can. Then have them practice the 20-yard shuffle outside in small groups. They will need a string or yardstick with which to measure a yard, and then they can map out how far 20 yards is. Ask them to predict how many shuffle steps it will take them to go that distance, and then have them do it to see if they were right.
Ask students to create a wallet card warning drivers about the dangers of fallen power lines. Be sure they include how to stay safe and when/how to safely exit the vehicle. Have them give this to a parent to keep in their wallet.