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Strong winds pose risk for power lines

What to do if you run into downed power lines
SALINAS, Calif. -

A power line, weakened by wind, falls on your car, with you inside: would you know what to do?

 

It's a problem that has become more real during Wednesday's strong winds. Matt Evarts, Battalion Chief with Salinas Fire Department, said his crews responded to nearly 20 downed power and cables lines, Wednesday. Evarts said this is double the number they see on average.

 

"Today, because we're under a high wind warning, we're dealing with calls related to the wind. Tree limbs, trees, utility lines, power lines. Things like that are coming down," said Evarts.

 

Evarts said his team proceeds with extreme caution when dealing with downed power lines. He said that if you encounter one on your drive, there are steps to take to make sure you get out uninjured.

 

"In the rare case that you might end up with a power line on your vehicle, the safest thing is to stay in your vehicle. We don't know if it's a power line and you don't either. The safest place is in your vehicle. Get ahold of 911 or yell for help, and we'll come out and investigate," said Evarts.

 

In the case that your car catches fire, and you need to get out, PG&E recommends removing all loose pieces of clothing, keeping your hands at your side, and jumping clear of the vehicle. Next, shuffle away from the car, without lifting your feet off the ground.

 

The Salinas Fire Department will be responding to downed power lines with the help of PG&E during the storm, and advises all to steer clear of them until they are fixed.

 

"Electricity wants to go to the ground. It wants to get down to the ground and you could become part of that pathway that makes it easier for the electricity. The best advice is to stay away," said Evarts.


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