Quick Start Guide Electric Utilities
SECTION 03: KEY SAFETY MESSAGES
Incidents • A homeowner was electrocuted when she made contact with an energized 4.6 kV primary distribution line. While walking along a narrow path in her backyard, she contacted a severed energized wire lying in shrubbery. The previous day, a large tree uprooted by a severe windstorm had knocked the line down, resulting in the loss of service to approximately 100,000 customers. • A 6-year-old boy and his adult neighbor were killed when they contacted an energized downed primary conductor in the yard of the boy’s home. The wire was brought down by heavy rain and strong winds associated with a tropical storm. At 2 a.m. on a Saturday, as the full brunt of the storm approached the utility’s service area, the boy’s family noticed sparks and flames in the road caused by the downed wire outside their home. The family’s father called 911 and the local police responded. Police officers stood by the scene until the flames and sparks ended. At that time, the on-scene police officers asked their police dispatcher to contact the utility and inquire as to whether the power to the area was off. The police dispatcher’s conversation with an employee in the utility’s storm operations center led him to believe that the power at the site of the downed wire was out. At 4 a.m., shortly after the police left, a utility employee arrived on the scene and cordoned off the area with red plastic “Danger High Voltage” tape and an orange traffic cone. The utility employee did not stay on the scene and guard the energized conductor.
Developing a Public Safety Communications Program
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