Electricity 101Comment on this page

Electricity is a flowing force that can be fatal. It always seeks a path to ground. Use the following guidelines to stay safe.

(from the ATCO Electric “Information for Emergency Responders” card)

Step Potential

The difference in voltage between the foot closest to the source of electricity and the foot father away is called step potential. This means you may become the path to ground. Stay a minimum of 10 meters away.

Touch Potential

Electricity always takes all paths to ground. By touching an energized line or object, you are at serious risk for injury or death.

Shuffle or hop - don’t step!

If there is an immediate need to get away, provide the following instructions:

  • Jump from the vehicle, keeping your feet together
  • Do not contact any object and the ground at the same time. You may receive an electric shock.
  • Shuffle away never allowing the heel of one foot to move beyond the toe of the other, or hop both feet together a minimum of 10 meters away.

Protect Yourself

When responding to incidents that may involve electricity:

  1. Call ATCO Electric’s 24-hour Dispatch at 1-800-567-9111
  2. Assess Hazards
    Upon arrival, take a moment to survey the scene and determine where potential electrical hazards are present.
  3. Make the area safe
    Treat all power lines as energized. Keep emergency crews and the public a minimum of 10 meters away.
  4. Stay put
    If there are conscious causalities within 10 meters of the incident, tell them to stay put. They may be in an electrically charged zone and at risk. If there is a fire or other hazards, show victims how to properly shuffle or hop away.
  5. Keep others away
    Ensure others do not approach the scene until an ATCO Electric employee advises you it is safe.