View Poll Results: Do you pull electric meters?

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  • Yes, any time crews go in.

    21 14.89%
  • No, never.

    86 60.99%
  • Only under certain conditions.

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  1. #26
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    Originally posted by hotboy
    pulling the meter will disrupt the electrical current. Basically the meter is a fuse.
    It doesn't always work that way. I have pulled a meter on a new construction house and we still had power in side. And on Commercial buildings it definately doesn't work.....so its time to re-think your statment.
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  2. #27
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    Basically the meter is a fuse.
    And it definitely is not a fuse.

  3. #28
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    Most of our structures are single and double wide trailers...county code requires a seperate service pole and panel outside the trailer..to secure electric power on those, you can just throw the main breaker.
    Personally, I prefer to secure power at the panel at all possible or have the electric company secure it at the pole...we have alot of electricity theft in our area and pulling the meter may not kill the power to the structure.
    Also, with commercial structures having 3 phase service, securing the power at the panel instead of the meter will insure that the power is cut....its always a good idea to have the electric company come in and secure the incomming service to be 100%
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  4. #29
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    ...we have alot of electricity theft in our area and pulling the meter may not kill the power to the structure.
    Another very good point; that happens in this area, as well.

  5. #30
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    I have read alot of interesting posts here. I also work for one of the power companies but not as a linemen. I work at a power plant. I will tell you what my volunteer fire dept does. It takes 1 hour or longer for the power company (line crew) to get to our location. It is very frustrating to wait on the line crew to get to us but they may have to travel 50 miles or further to reach us. We generally do not pull the meters, however we have done so in the past. We try to open the breakers or outside disconnect (not on the pole)in the structure before pulling the meter as a last resort.
    Meters ARE NOT FUSES. They ARE NOT DISCONNECTS. Linemen gloves are checked every month by an outside company. They are checked to see if they will conduct electric current through the gloves. Before Electric Companies employees use the gloves they must visually inspect the glove and look for holes in the gloves.
    Everyone who pulls the meters must know the risk that are associated with doing so. I would discourage any one from doing this without the proper training and equipment from their local power company

  6. #31
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    No, never, absolutly not, not an option.

    Dave

  7. #32
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    Default Not common practice but it has happened

    We had Detroit Edison present their “Arcs and Sparks” demo at one of our meetings. They said “don’t pull meters but if you do this is how to do it”. They also gave us plastic covers to place in the box to fill the hole.

    They also mentioned grabbing the gas detector and taking a reading inside the box first.

  8. #33
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    Talking

    I was waiting for Gonzo to chime in on this one, because I respect his opinions and he is usually right on the money (except for that PPV thing....)

  9. #34
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  10. #35
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    So I guess the general consensus here is don't pull the meter. By now, everyone knows that pulling the meter does nothing in most occupancies now.

    Where I come from we have the power company respond. We notify the powere company early from dispatch, if it isn't automatic by the dispatcher at the time of dispatch. Excel Energy has people on call all over their area and it is rare we have to wait longer than 20min any given time. Guess we are lucky. They show up and shut the house off of the power pole, they don't even mess with the house itself.
    We will shut off the breakers and the gas meter.
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  11. #36
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    Yes sir. Especially any fire where there is going to be interior operations the meter is pulled. If we waited for the electric company to do it our area would look like the parking lot at Disney World.

    Granted the majority of our buildings are single or double family dwellings or small shops and businesses.

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  12. #37
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    Lots of great information here so far, thanks! I also appreciate the professionalism of those who disagree with me in expressing their opinions in a civilized manner. I respect that you are watching out for my safety.

    And let me clarify that the majority of our structure fires are residential-type electrical services, and we do put meter plates on them. I agree that the bigger systems should definitely be left the heck alone altogether.

    We wouldn't even consider it at our FD if we had some of the excellent power co. response that other posters here have indicated. I don't like pulling the things--I would prefer that the power co. cut the drop, but with 45- and 60-minute response times for them, this area would look like a parking lot.

    Does anyone have a diagram showing how pulling the meter does NOT kill power? Does this apply to anything other than 3-phase wiring? This is worth knowing.
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  13. #38
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    The 4th edition of IFSTA on power point has a diagram on how pulling the meter does not always kill the power. I cant remember which chapter but its in with all the other electrical stuff.

    I am also pleased to see the professionalism that all posters so far have shown.
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  14. #39
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    I'm not sure if it's been mentioned, but one should always be aware of auxillary systems, such as solar cell systems and back-up generators that start automatically.

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    We always pull the meter if we can get to it. This is usually done on the walk around and if the fire isint on that side of the structure. Here, pulling the meters on the houses does shut off the electric and we place a plastic plate over it and put meter in the truck. When this happens, the people that own it have to get the building inspected by an electrician before the electric company will give the meter back to them. Some of the newer structures supposedly are supposed to be built with a breaker switch under the box so you can throw that and lock it instead of pulling the meter, but I have yet to see one of those. The gas is also shut of right away.

    We don't want to take the chance of hitting the right thing with water then getting shocked. Its one of those "Work smarter, not harder" things, a good piece of advice that is.
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  16. #41
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    All well and fine if you have been PROPERLY trained to pull meters.Could be a real eye opener if you haven't.Sometimes working "smarter"means there is a reason the people that work with these things everyday are VERY respectful of them.Pulling a "loaded"meter is a lot like pulling a hi voltage fuse under load.It can be quite dramatic.T.C.

  17. #42
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    Our dept does not pull meters and have instituted many interior attacks with the power still on and my hair isn't curly .We follow Capt Gonzo's line of thinking. There is actually more hazard at pulling it than leaving be.Maybe our area is luckier than most in that the utility company can have a supervisor there in 20-30 min and he will look things over,consult with the IC and do what is necessary to mitigate the power. As a matter of fact, sometimes they decide to leave it on and that has proved to be downright handy.

    I took an electric/gas seminar last fall from our local uility company and learned a tremendous amout in the 2 days I was there.They have a complete facility that they make available to f/f around the state. You don't have to be under their juristiction to atend. There were even a couple guys from VT. in my class. The instructors made no bones about leaving the lines and the meter box alone. They went through the DAILY safety checks their linemen go through with each piece of equipment. If there is any minor flaw or question of one, the piece of equip is replaced. We as a rule probably don't do that." Oh, that'll be OK Fred"

    The point about back up power systems is also very valid as these are designed to take over in the event of power interruption. You pull the box,don't check a circuit and a false sense of security results in a tingle for some one. I'd rather approach knowing for sure there's power and adjust accordingly.

  18. #43
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    We are lucky in that a house on fire brings an electric company crew in about 10 minutes. Power is disconnected by them, at the pole, not the house. Disconnecting at the house still leaves live wires overhead that still may fall/get damaged during a fire. They get cut at the pole by the power company and that leaves 0 chance of electrical problems (unless items noted by TheNozzleman above).
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  19. #44
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    Originally posted by Bones42
    Disconnecting at the house still leaves live wires overhead that still may fall/get damaged during a fire. They get cut at the pole by the power company and that leaves 0 chance of electrical problems (unless items noted by TheNozzleman above).
    Very good point, Bones........ Never forget about the lines going between the pole and the meter.......

  20. #45
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    CT Loops, small round plastic looking rings at the service entrance to commercial buildings, mostly 3 phase service. Measuring devices for the amount of energy being used by that structure, no glass meter. problem? hehe Next time you do a preplan at a commercial building, notice if these loops are there, then note where the SERVICE disconnect is located. There are two different types of disconnects, SERVICE and MAIN. Know the differences. and note them on the preplans.

    Cutting the service drop DOES NOT always cut the power. It interrupts the power. Extension cords from the neighbors house, back up generators, solar panels, etc. Look for these things in the inital size up.

    Our department jsut recieved a class from our local co-op also. They told us not to pull meters. And their company would not take the liability of teaching us how to pull meters. Does yours?

    We still carry the blank covers to cover the meter pan after pulling, but after an acid bottle fell on me that was sitting atop a 3-phase meter I had pulled, I wait for the co-op to show up. Most of the local guys have scanners and are on the way about the same time they are notified.

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  21. #46
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    After 25 years as an electronics geek my policy is to treat any potential over 50 volts as a loaded gun. Sure, I can work around high voltage OK but you’re only allowed a few mistakes (I don’t think the linemen even get one), and I already made my few. I consider every circuit to be live, even when I know it’s not, and I constantly check with a meter to make sure. Pulling a meter may or may not kill power to the house but how do you know unless you check with a meter? Does everyone carry a meter on their trucks? Meter leads go bad just like the linemen gloves mention here, I found that out for myself when I plugged myself into a 440vac circuit, the damn current ran right up the meter leads and zapped me. Do you check your meter leads?

    As a matter of policy we don’t pull the meter but I would if I decided it was necessary, because we’re in the business of taking calculated risks and I believe I could determine when it was appropriate (news flash….fireman whflhff dies from electrical shock while removing meter…..). Heck, it’s a calculated risk to work the fire with the power still on, we decide that the shock risk of removing the meter is greater than the shock risk during fire fighting operations. Either decision can be wrong.

    And yeah, in our area aux. generators are becoming real popular. Just one more thing the officer needs to remember to look for during size up.

    Bill.

    [edited for spelling]
    Last edited by whflhff; 04-01-2004 at 08:57 PM.

  22. #47
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    At one time we used to always pull the meter for structure fires. Entergy even used to keep us supplied with the plastic covers. 5+ years ago Entergy came to us and gave us a training class on what can happen to electric meters. They asked us not to pull them anymore. It has been a long time since a meter was pulled but it will still be done in very rare instances.

    Entergy's response time depends on where the call out guy is coming from. Except for during the day when they get there pretty quick.

  23. #48
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    Pull the meter and replace it with a plastic cover.

    We also have cut drip loops. (Scary)

  24. #49
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    Thumbs down Simple answer

    Don't do it...too many unknowns!
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    new to the boards, but i thought i could put my .02 in when we can't get to the fuse box or if the have a by pass, at times they just bybass the meter an have it jumped then cut if we need/have to.

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