Quick Start Guide Electric Utilities


Who: Key Audiences The target audience for this topic is the general public.

What: Core Messages The core message is the most important point or essential idea to be understood and remembered by the target audience. For this topic, the core message is a variation on the messaging for downed utility lines: Contact with energized downed utility lines or nearby objects may cause serious injury or death. The weight of ice on tree branches and utility lines may bring energized high-voltage electric lines within reach, so be particularly watchful for downed utility lines after ice storms. Consider any downed electric or communication line to be energized and dangerous, and call 911 and the local electric utility to report it. Stay a safe distance* away from all downed or low conductors.

* Industry practices vary regarding advising on a safe distance from downed power lines. Electric utility companies may determine a safe distance based on their electric system characteristics, with distances typically between 30 and 100 feet. Alternatively, utilities may opt to use “as far away as possible” since voltage, fault current, and ground conditions are highly variable throughout a utility’s system. In either case, the company’s safety messages should be consistent with precautionary information provided by the call center, first responder training, the company’s website, and published PSA materials.


Developing a Public Safety Communications Program

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