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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Default Electrocution Dangers??

    I have a friend who is a lineman with the power company and he seems to have VERY STRONG opinions about FFing near electricity. In his opinion we pretty much shouldn't spray water anywhere near a building until the power has been disconnected. We have trained to stop sprinkler heads at least 3 times since I have been on the department but have never gone in depth into electrical safety. I have heard stories about guys on my department shuffling out of a trailer while electricity arced all around them.I have tried to get the Lineman to come in during a FF practice to lecture on electrical safety put there seems to be some bad blood between the lineman and the Chief...

    I am wondering how large is the risk of electrical shock while FFing and what precautions are normally taken by other fire departments to minimize this risk? I am talking about residential and light commercial fires (obviously some fires have larger electrical risks)...Any comments would be greatly appreciated...


    SubarcticFF


  2. #2
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Default

    Hmmm...waiting until the power company comes out to disconect the juice to the building..... that's a great way to create a smoking cellar hole or a burnt pile of rubble! Most electric companyies have crews on the road that can respond quickly during their normal operating workday, but at night they may have only 1 or 2 people on call and they have to cover a large territory.

    The utility companys should be called by fire alarm whenever there is a confirmed working fire. If there is concern, the power can be shut down at the main electrical panels in the house or building.

    Never pull the meter! All the meter is a measuring device, much like a speedometer on a car.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber jaybird210's Avatar
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    Default

    Arctic-
    Some of your pre-fire planning training, especially if you guys do walk-throughs, should include where electrical disconnects are, particularly commercial occupancies.

    Now, GeorgeWendt will probably spank me for suggesting that we open breakers or throw disconnects, BUT as long as you are SURE about the original position of these devices, and make sure the investigator knows what you know (as to whether you switched 'em or not), there shouldn't be a problem, even if it's arson.
    Omnis Cedo Domus

    www.hinckleyfd.org

  4. #4
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    Black Hawk VFD, South Dakota
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    Default

    Capt Gonzo is right. We normally cut power at the breaker/fuse panel and have the power company respond to cut power at the service entrance.

    Does it always make it safe for firefighters? Not in all cases.

    We went mutual aid to assist a neighboring department with a rather large residential structure that had been remodeled and added on to several times. Power was turned off at the breaker panel. An engine crew entered the basement with a line to check for extension of the fire and were standing in ankle deep water when they discovered a table lamp that had been knocked over and was still lit with the bulb under water. They beat a hasty retreat until the power company arrived. The house had three seperate "main" breaker panels.

    We had a small barn fire (20' x 40') that was fully involved upon arrival. The power line was laying on the ground. The main panel for all the buildings was located on a power pole in the yard and it was at night. We shut down the power at the panel and called the utility company. All firefighters were advised to staly clear of the downed line until the power company secured it. The property owner coiled up the line and hung it on the metal frame of a windmill to get it out of our way. The owner wanted to know if we could turn the main breaker back on so that there was power to the house so I started tracing the line using a flashlight to try to determine which part of the main panel fed the barm. I followed the line from the windmill to the top of the power pole only to discover that the barn was not fed from the panel. It was tapped directly into the power line and did not go through the panel or a meter. The property owner had coiled up a hot line and hung it on a metal structure without even getting a shock.

    The power company estimated that that hookup at been there for at least thiry years and they had never noticed it.

    Stay Safe

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber jaybird210's Avatar
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    Exclamation Farmer-ized

    Ray, farms scare the hell out of me! It's a wonder they all haven't burned to the ground!

    Cobbled-up, duct-taped, baling-wired-tied, hot-wired, and short-circuited!
    Omnis Cedo Domus

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