If powerlines fall on your vehicle after an accident – would you know what to do?
The answer to the question is one that could save your life. Queenslanders hit power poles more than 250 times last year.
Often the first instinct in such situations is to get out of the vehicle, but according to Energex Area Manager Matt Hilder this is the most dangerous thing to do.
“Without question, as long as there isn’t a secondary danger such as a fire, the safest course of action is to STAY, CALL, WAIT,” Matt said.
“That means, STAY in the vehicle or 10 metres away, CALL 000 and WAIT for help.”
“If someone tries to step out of a vehicle with powerlines across it, there’s a high possibility the outside of the car is live, so when they touch the ground it will close the circuit and the electricity will run through their body to the ground.
“This can easily end in severe injury – or, just as likely – instant death.”
Similarly, people who witness an accident often try to do the right thing and assist people in the vehicle, but according to Matt this issue presents the very same danger.
“If you see a vehicle accident and powerlines are on it, the safest place to be is 10 metres away, and the best way to help those inside is to call triple zero,” Matt said.
“When you phone triple zero make sure you make it clear there are powerlines causing an issue. That way the 000 call taker can have an Energex crew dispatched to the scene to make it safe for the vehicle’s occupants, as well as emergency services workers when they arrive.”
But what’s the best course of action if you’re stuck in the vehicle and there is a secondary danger like a fire and the occupants must get out of the car?
According to Matt, the safest way is to open the vehicle door, look for clear ground without wires on it and, whilst keeping your feet together, jump as far away from the vehicle as possible being careful not to touch the car or ground at the same time.
“Once you’re on the ground, shuffle your feet or jump until you’re at least 10 metres away from the vehicle and wires,” he said.