Avoid Down Wires

Downed Power Lines: Stay Safe. Stay Away.

Look out for downed power lines during storms. If you spot one dangling or on the ground, stay away. Notify MGE immediately by calling (608) 252-7111(608) 252-7111.

Electricity can jump from object to object. You don't have to touch a conductor to be in harm's way. Not only from downed power lines but also from objects touching a downed line (like a fence, tree or other object).

  • Assume any downed wire is energized—even a wire lying perfectly silent and still may have high voltage running through it.
  • Be aware that downed lines can be lying in puddles or flooded areas—stay away.
  • Do not touch someone who is being shocked by a downed line—you could be killed.

If you are near a downed power line, or something touching a downed line, DO NOT WALK OR RUN. Why? Electricity travels through the ground in all directions. The voltage decreases the further you are away from the downed wire. If you walk or run, you could conduct electricity in one leg at one voltage into the other leg at another voltage. This could shock or kill you. So keep both feet on the ground and shuffle with your legs close together as you move away from the downed line.

Stay clear of areas where there are tree branches in suspended power lines.

In Your Vehicle

If a line falls on your car, drive away if you can. If you can't, stay inside until trained help arrives. Avoid touching any metal parts inside or outside your vehicle. If anyone begins to approach, warn them to stay away and not to touch your car—they could be killed.

If you absolutely have to get out, JUMP out of the vehicle without touching the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Then shuffle with your legs close together to move away from the vehicle. If you have a young child or infant in the vehicle with you and you must get out, hold them tight to your body while you hop out of the vehicle. Do not touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time or you will become the electricity's path to the ground.