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Anna Haberlein
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​july 29, 2016
the truth about electricity may shock you
aps encourages safety during summer storms, dispels common “myths” about electricity
PHOENIX – During an Arizona summer, monsoon storms can bring high winds and microbursts that have historically delivered enough force to knock power lines and poles to the ground.  Last week during a storm in New Jersey, a woman unfortunately was killed when she attempted to get out of her vehicle after power lines fell onto her car. Safety is the number one priority, and APS wants to ensure customers are aware of important safety practices during monsoon season. 
To help our customers and others stay safe through summer storm season, we offer the top eight misconceptions surrounding downed power line safety:
1)      Auto tires protect against electrical shock… FALSE: Electricity has one goal - find the least-resistant path to ground. If a line falls on your car, the electricity from the line can travel through the body of the car, through the tires and to the ground. If you exit the vehicle, you could get electrocuted if you’re touching the car and the ground at the same time. 
2)      Because metal is a conductor, it is safer outside the car…FALSE: In the case of a downed line, the safest place is inside your car. If you have a cell phone, call 911 and wait patiently for help to arrive. If you must get out of the car because of a life-threatening situation, jump away from the vehicle using the baseboard of the vehicle without touching both the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Move away using short, shuffle steps without lifting your feet off the ground until you are at least 100 feet away from the vehicle.
3)      Live wires always make sparks…FALSE: Always assume a wire is live. Many downed wires do not spark, make noise, or show any indication of electricity. Just because a wire is down does not mean that electricity is shut off.
4)      APS always knows when a line is down…FALSE: If you see a downed line, immediately call 911 and then APS’s call center at (602) 371-7171.
5)      A power line can only cause harm if touched…FALSE: Anything touching a power line could become energized and you could be harmed if you touch what has become energized. Additionally, electricity can spread through the ground if conditions, like moisture, allow it. Just because you are not touching a line doesn’t mean you are safe from the electricity in the line. Even though you can’t see it, it doesn’t mean it can’t injure you.
6)      All power lines are insulated…FALSE: Unlike extension cords or wires that connect many household appliances, overhead power lines do not have insulation. Touching one, directly or indirectly, is dangerous and can cause serious injury, including death.
7)      Wood is an insulator…FALSE: Although wood is typically thought of as an insulator, it can conduct electricity, especially if it is wet or moist. Using wood to touch or move a downed power line is dangerous and absolutely should not be attempted.
8)      Rubber shoes are good insulation…FALSE: Although rubber is commonly used as an insulator, most “rubber” accessories such as gloves or shoes are not rated for direct contact with electricity. It is not safe to touch any energized material (power line or anything touching a power line) just because you are wearing rubber gloves or rubber shoes.
APS, Arizona’s largest and longest-serving electricity utility, serves nearly 1.2 million customers in 11 of the state’s 15 counties.  Headquartered in Phoenix, APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (NYSE: PNW).