By Shereen Siewert
Crews in the Wausau metro area responded Wednesday to reports of at least two fires that broke out after heavy snow downed power lines.
Small fires were reported in Rothschild, the town of Wausau and Hatley.
Power outages have also been reported throughout the region, with more than 10,000 customers without power in the Wisconsin Public Service area.
- If you see a downed power line, move away from it and anything touching it. The ground around power lines – up to 35 feet away – may be energized.
- You cannot tell whether or not a power line is energized just by looking at it. You should assume that all downed power lines are live.
- The proper way to move away from the power line is to shuffle away with small steps, keeping your feet together and on the ground at all times. This will minimize the potential for a strong electric shock.
- If you see someone who is in direct or indirect contact with the downed line, do not touch the person. You could become the next victim. Call 911 for help.
- Do not attempt to move a downed power line or anything else in contact with it by using an object such as a broom or stick. Even non-conductive materials like wood or cloth, can conduct electricity if even slightly wet.
- Do not drive over downed power lines.
- If your car comes in contact with a downed power line while you are inside, stay in the car. Honk your horn to summon help, but direct others to stay away from your car.
- If you must leave your car because it is on fire, jump out of the vehicle with both feet together and avoid contact with both the car and the ground at the same time. Shuffle away from the car.