The latest installment of the Take Care, Stay Line Aware campaign turns the spotlight on vehicle safety, after motorists hit parts of the power network more than 50 times during the Easter school holidays last year.
Ergon’s Community Safety Manager Aaron Smith warned that coming into contact with electrical equipment put the vehicle’s occupants and those in the immediate vicinity at serious risk and people need to know what to do in an emergency.
“Many people mistakenly believe that if their vehicle hits our network power is automatically turned off and it is safe to leave their vehicle.
“The reality is powerlines can still be energised and the electricity can then travel through the metal of the vehicle body and/or through the ground.
“If you are involved in an accident it is very important to understand that the safest place to be is in the vehicle,” Mr Smith said.
The key message is: STAY in the vehicle, CALL 000 and WAIT for help.
Mr Smith said while it was human nature for bystanders to try and assist in a crash, they risk receiving electric shocks or worse if they touch the vehicle.
“Bystanders should remain at least ten metres from the affected vehicle and damaged power equipment and contact emergency services,” he said.
Mr Smith said if the vehicle’s occupants needed to get out because of a fire or another life-threatening hazard they should take the following steps to minimise the risk of electric shock or electrocution.
“Jump clear of the vehicle, being very careful not to touch the vehicle and ground at the same time.
“Once you are clear of the vehicle, either shuffle your feet along the ground or jump until you are at least ten metres from any danger,” he said.
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