We often say that after an accident medical care should be your first concern and that, if the accident was due to someone else's negligent or wrongful acts, you should also contact legal counsel as soon as possible. Contacting us in a timely fashion ensures memories are fresh and evidence has not disappeared. Plus, the sooner you call, the sooner we can help you resolve your case and obtain compensation! Sometimes, however, there are matters that come before either obtaining care or calling counsel. In some cases, additional dangers lurk after the collision. Knowing what to do in these moments can mean the difference between life and death. One such case is when an accident leads to downed power lines and electricity may be flowing.
On Tuesday morning, an accident shook the waterfront community of St. Andrews in Panama City. WJHG reports that an 85 year-old man was driving in a station wagon near the corner of Wilmont Avenue and West 11th Street around 9:30 A.M. Police believe the station wagon was travelling fast when it jumped the curb and hit a utility pole, causing the pole and electrical lines to fall across the vehicle. The elderly driver was trapped until Gulf Power cut the power and moved the wires. Medical personnel took the man to the hospital, but information on his condition was not available.
Sergeant Melanie Law warned community members to use caution around downed wires. She emphasized that the ground can carry electricity and cause fatal harm. Law noted that things turned out okay on Tuesday, but suggested it could have been much worse and the driver and passers-by could have been killed.
What should you do if power lines come down on your car or a car you are riding in? PSE&G, a large electricity company, provides safety tips for dealing with downed power lines. The biggest tip for dealing with wires on your vehicle - stay put! Always assume the wires are "live" and running with electric current. You are generally safe in your vehicle and, unless some other safety threat exists, you should stay in your car until professional help arrives. You should also warn other people, including well-meaning people trying to help, to stay clear of the area.
If fire or another life-endangering threat arises, you should carefully jump clear of the vehicle. It is important to avoid touching the car and the ground at the same time. Jump as far as you can and land with both feet hitting the ground at one time. Shuffle or hop away, making sure both feet land at the same time. Due to the way electricity travels, walking or running may allow your legs to bridge different rings of current and cause shock. This is further illustrated in an advice piece from B.C. Hydro, a Canadian company.
The Pittman Firm is proud to share our knowledge and experience to help keep our community safe. We always believe in "Safety First." When accidents do occur, we are here to help. We advocate for people hurt by careless drivers throughout the Northwest Florida region. Call if we can help you.
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