Dealing with Electrical Safety on Scene
Hello everyone I have read the forums for a while and I am a new member. Had a question about a call we ran the other night and I thought I would bring it to the guys here with more experience than I have. I work with a volunteer department in rural Arkansas, and we had a structure fire around 3am a few nights back, about 10 miles from our firehouse. Our department and the neighboring department are on automatic mutal-aid for structure fires in either of our districts, so we were both called out.
Once on scene we could see the structure was fully involved, decision was made to setup defensive operations. There were two trailers right across a small driveway from the house, both were already smoking/showing damaged siding so we moved to protect them.
While trying to protect those mobile homes, the electrical line that fed into the house burnt through at the top mountings and fell into the yard between us and the fire. We had already noted the danger and kept operations away from that area.
After they fell we continued to try to keep the fire contained on that side of the house and off the trailers, while avoiding the downed live electrical wires. Here is where my questions come in. I have read a bit about the dangers of higher voltage lines arching through the ground and giving them a wide berth, but what does your departments or SOP consider safe range for the lines going into houses. We have almost no training on this issue and I am planning to bring it up at an after-action meeting. I personally believe we had men and hoselines too close to the downed power lines. Does anyone know at what distance downed lines like that are dangerous. Or what distance a hoseline will carry electricity from a line of that type if the hoseline itself comes into contact with the lines or gets too close to them?
Any help you guys have on this subject would be appreciated. Living in a very rural area it can take hours for a power truck to arrive on scene so we generally have to attack the fire with power still going to the structure. I have been trying to learn as much as I can about these situations as I feel we are taking unnecessary risks when the power is involved. If anyone could tell me about your SOP's, personal experience, or point me towards reliable sources of information that would be amazing.
I have tried looking online but most of the answers I get are just standard "Avoid power lines" with no indication of my specific questions about the range of their danger, the ability of fire hoses to carry electricty, etc.