(KTXL) — Several trees and power lines were knocked over during a series of winter storms in California, causing thousands of people to lose power in their homes.
On Jan. 8, downed trees and power lines left more than 300,000 people without power in Sacramento and surrounding counties.
When power lines are knocked down in the street, utility companies urge drivers to not drive through them or touch them, as they are dangerous.
Whenever you encounter them, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, the main electricity provider in the area, says to stay clear and call 911 or 1-888-456-7683 and don’t touch the wires.
“If the downed power lines have fallen on a motor vehicle, avoid contact with the vehicle — it has probably been electrified and deadly shock could result if you touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time,” SMUD’s website reads. “Stay clear until you are sure the power is shut off.”
According to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, you should follow these guidelines whenever you see a downed power line:
•Avoid touching the downed line with your hand or an object, such as a stick, broom or pole
•Avoid touching anything, such as a car, object, or equipment, or anyone who is in contact with a fallen power line
•Keep children and pets away from fallen electric lines
•Avoid driving over a fallen power line
•Call 911 to report a fallen power line
If a power line does touch your car, PG&E urges you to stay inside your car, as the ground around your vehicle may be full of electricity. While inside the vehicle, PG&E says to honk your horn, roll down your window, call for help and call 911 with your cell phone.
If someone comes near the vehicle, warn that person(s) to stay away from the area, as whoever makes contact with the equipment or ground around your car can be injured, according to PG&E.
PG&E says to stay in your car until fire personnel, police, or PG&E workers tell you it’s safe to exit your vehicle. If a power line is dangling, officials said to not touch it.
If an object is caught in a power line, PG&E urges to never attempt to retrieve it if it’s on or near it.
But if your car comes in contact with a fallen powerline and a fire starts, here are PG&E’s guidelines for that situation:
•Remove loose items of clothing
•Keep your hands at your sides and jump clear of the vehicle, so you are not touching the car when your feet hit the ground
•Keep both feet close together and shuffle away from the vehicle without picking up your feet