Car-Pole Accidents

  • Do not enter or contact vehicles that may be energized. Instead, instruct occupant(s) to drive the vehicle away from the line if they can do so safely.
  • If the vehicle cannot be safely moved, instruct occupant(s) to stay put until utility personnel give the all clear.
  • If occupant(s) are in imminent danger from fire or other hazards, stay away, and instruct them to jump clear, landing far enough away from the equipment that they don't touch the equipment and the ground at the same time. Instruct them to land with their feet together and shuffle away, keeping their feet together and on the ground.
  • If occupant(s) are injured, disabled, or otherwise unable to safely exit the vehicle, your incident commander will tell you how to proceed.

SCENARIO: Vehicle Rescue Goes Awry

A car that had struck a utility pole lay on its side with an injured passenger pinned inside, just two feet away from downed power lines. In an attempt to stabilize the vehicle, rescuers ran a steel winch cable below the sagging power lines and attached it to the car’s luggage rack. A fire chief, a firefighter, an EMT, and a bystander were holding the cable when the luggage rack pulled loose; it and the cable contacted the energized lines. The fire chief and bystander were both killed; the firefighter and EMT were severely burned.