What happens when something touches a power line

How to stay safe in an emergency

When you see a power line on the ground, stay safe by staying away. This video shows what happens when people, vehicles, ladders and other objects come in contact with a power line.


Duke Energy holds these safety demonstrations for first responders and employees to help them prepare for accidents, storms and other events that knock down power lines and damage power equipment.

Electricity is safe and reliable when used properly. Work is underway in all states Duke Energy serves to modernize the energy grid to better protect the system against storms and outages, making it safer and more resilient.

Safety tips

  • Stay away from downed or sagging power lines, and do not touch anything that is on or near a power line.
  • Keep children and pets away from areas where lines may have fallen.
  • If a power line falls across a car that you're in, stay in the car until professional assistance arrives. Warn others not to come near the car. If you must get out because of a fire, jump clear of the car and land on both feet. Don't touch the car when your feet are on the ground.
  • Report all power line hazards to your energy company.