Quick Start Guide Electric Utilities



• A 20-year-old volunteer firefighter was electrocuted while extinguishing a small brush fire. The victim was a crew member dispatched to a grass fire where a power line was reported to be down. He arrived at the scene of the incident and immediately began assisting other firefighters in extinguishing one of several small brush fires. He then began walking toward a smoldering pile of brush near the downed power line. As he pulled a charged fire hose over the uneven terrain, he tripped and fell onto the downed 7.6 kV electric line and was electrocuted. • In another incident, a firefighter was electrocuted and a second seriously injured while positioning a 35-foot aluminum extension ladder at a fire scene. The incident occurred outside a three-story building where a fire was burning on the third floor. The emergency responder, who was off duty when the incident began, had responded to the scene simply because he was in the area at the time. Upon arriving at the fire scene, the emergency responder was placed on duty by the fire chief in charge and ordered to assist in raising a ladder to the third-floor window of the structure. As the emergency responder (who was not wearing firefighter’s turnout gear) and two other firefighters positioned the ladder near the building, two of them apparently slipped on ice and snow on the sidewalk and lost control of the ladder. The ladder fell back and contacted a 7.6 kV overhead power line, electrocuting the emergency responder and critically injuring the second firefighter. The third firefighter received a minor electric shock but was uninjured. These incidents highlight the importance of training firefighters to recognize the hazards associated with working near energized electrical facilities and to take all precautions to avoid contact with them.


Developing a Public Safety Communications Program

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