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.

    34 24.11%
  1. #76
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    Good Idea George, we were talking just yesterday at the station and this subject came up. I told them that there was a lot of talk on this forum about pulling metere over last few days. One of my guys said heck I think I am going to look into how many firefighters are hurt every year due to getting shocked while inside fighting fire. I bet the stats are pretty low, at least low enough for us to justify waiting until the local electric company shows up to pull there meter.
    A "Good" fire is not measured by how big it is, but by the fact that everyone is going home safe, and that we possibly learned something new about firefighting. Member:IACOJ

  2. #77
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    per our power supplier, we do NOT pull the meter. trip the breaker and wait for the power company

  3. #78
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    NIOSH Bulletin. Note the last bullet point.

    http://www.healthandsafetycentre.org...00/ha0011.html

  4. #79
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    I know I already responded to this awhile ago, but we just had a drill the other night on safely working around electrical distribution systems. It was conducted by one of our Engineers who's full-time job is as an electrical engineer with Southern California Edison.

    SCE has produced a great video on the subject specifically geared towards first responders, which was done in conjunction with OCFA, LACoFD and several other local FDs. It covers all the different scenarios (downed wires, fires in substations, DC'ing power to a house, etc.)

    One thing that was specifically said in the drill (can't remember if it was in the video or from our Engineer) is to not, under any circumstances, pull a meter due to the risk of the meter exploding and the fact that it may not actually de-energize the house.
    Chris Gaylord
    Emergency Planner / Fire Captain, UC Santa Cruz FD

  5. #80
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    The link Norm provided stated the following
    -Attempt to extinguish a fire in an identified "grow house" without entering the building
    -Stay out of the structure until the power has been turned off by by the appropriate power authority's qualified and trained worker
    So I guess we shouldn't be doing any more interior attacks, right? if you get a room and contents fire, try and put it out from the outside, and if you can't, wait until the power company comes to shut off the power, then go inside?

    yeah, it sounds good in theory, but the reality is that you'll be waiting for hours while the house is burning in front of you.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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  6. #81
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    Dr, did you actually read that whole page before jumping to conclusions?

    Actually, even that single quote of you put up:

    Attempt to extinguish a fire in an identified "grow house" without entering the building

    It's not saying don't do interior attacks on any house you come across.

    It's saying once you come across a house rigged as a grow house, you're best to back out and surround & drown due to the amount of jerry rigged wiring inside.
    Last edited by Dalmatian90; 04-01-2005 at 01:29 PM.
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  7. #82
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    Originally posted by Dalmatian90
    Dr, did you actually read that whole page before jumping to conclusions?

    Actually, even that single quote of you put up:

    Attempt to extinguish a fire in an identified "grow house" without entering the building

    It's not saying don't do interior attacks on any house you come across.

    It's saying once you come across a house rigged as a grow house, you're best to back out and surround & drown due to the amount of jerry rigged wiring inside.
    I put that idiot on my ignore list because he is obsessed with arguiing about every single thing that gets posted by me. Although I am certina that you will see that he has fought fires in a donzen grow houses, he doesn't know the first thing about them. The whole point of the post was that NIOSH wants you to call the power co. and not pull it yourself. But what do they know. They are only the nation's foremost authority on occupational health and safety.

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    Dal, I did read the entire thing. certain people (without mentioning names) will use this incident to make the argument that anytime there is power to the house, you shouldn't go inside and put the fire out. better to wait until the power company arrives to shut power off.

    btw, I would treat a grow house the same way as I would treat a meth lab, reglardless of whether the power was turned on or off. stay outside.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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  9. #84
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    Our firefighters are prohibited from pulling meters by the local power company and our Chief. Because the power personnel take some time to make it to our fire scenes most of the time we make interior attacks without pulling the meter.

    TF

  10. #85
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    Originally posted by DrParasite
    certain people (without mentioning names) will use this incident to make the argument that anytime there is power to the house, you shouldn't go inside and put the fire out.
    Name one. I doubt you will find anyone in these 100,000 members that will make that argument.
    "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?

  11. #86
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    Whatever happened to the idea to have someone go the electrical panel if at all possible and and cut the power by tripping the breakers or unscrewing the fuses?
    ‎"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."
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  12. #87
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    Originally posted by CaptainGonzo
    Whatever happened to the idea to have someone go the electrical panel if at all possible and and cut the power by tripping the breakers or unscrewing the fuses?
    Cap, there are times when the electrical panel can present just as much of a hazard as the meter. Here is how I put it when I am teaching...

    "You are in more danger standing in a puddle of water, sticking your hands into an electrical panel that you know nothing about; you don't kow who put it in, if it was put in with permits, if it is grounded, if it is the reason for the fire or if it is going to kill you, than you are if you just leave it alone and go fight the fire."

    I posed the challenge for someone to research the stats on FF injuries due to electrical shock during interior operations. No one has yet answered. The reason is the stats don't exist. While you will find anecdotes of FF electric shock injuries, you will find that actual incidence is miniscule. Just go fight the fire.

    From another pespective, if you feel that you must turn off the breakers, only turn off the Main breaker. The fire investigator is going to be very interested in the position and condition of each breaker in that panel.

  13. #88
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    We never pull them. We'll shut of the main breaker or pull fuses if it's safe to do so; other than that we wait for the power company.....can't say it has ever delayed an interior attack.

  14. #89
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    Let's turn this question around:
    "How many electrical utilities tell you to pull the meter?"

    My bet is none. They don't want the liability of untrained or partially trained firefighters messing with electricity. Both of the utilities in our area say "DON'T PULL THE METER!" No if, ands, or buts. We don't pull them, we just throw the switch or breakers, or wait for the utility.

    And for those who say waiting lets the house burn down: If the people are out, why are you risking your FF? For the insurance company?? To prove something? We don't have the brothers and sisters to spare.
    Having been to 7 law enforcement funerals (my prior career), they are not fun - moreso when the death could have been prevented. A preventable FF funeral has to be the saddest thing on earth.
    "We lost Bob when he pulled the meter, but hey, we saved the garage!" Stupid!

    As for the chief who is pulling the meters himself rather than risking his crew - he may be one of those who wants to 'die with his boots on' - I've seen it before. Stop him before he becomes the next one with a signal 5-5-5.

    And please, spare us the "we've always done it that way, and nobody got hurt." This is one area where past record does not change the odds of someone getting fryed at todays fire.
    Last edited by Sleuth; 04-01-2005 at 05:13 PM.

  15. #90
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    Originally posted by Sleuth
    Let's turn this question around:
    "How many electrical utilities tell you to pull the meter?"

    My bet is none. They don't want the liability of untrained or partially trained firefighters messing with electricity. Both of the utilities in our area say "DON'T PULL THE METER!" No if, ands, or buts. We don't pull them, we just throw the switch or breakers, or wait for the utility.

    And for those who say waiting lets the house burn down: If the people are out, why are you risking your FF? For the insurance company?? To prove something? We don't have the brothers and sisters to spare.
    Having been to 7 law enforcement funerals (my prior career), they are not fun - moreso when the death could have been prevented. A preventable FF funeral has to be the saddest thing on earth.
    "We lost Bob when he pulled the meter, but hey, we saved the garage!" Stupid!

    As for the chief who is pulling the meters himself rather than risking his crew - he may be one of those who wants to 'die with his boots on' - I've seen it before. Stop him before he becomes the next one with a signal 5-5-5.

    And please, spare us the "we've always done it that way, and nobody got hurt." This is one area where past record does not change the odds of someone getting fryed at todays fire.
    Excellent post, Sleuth. Unless there is an obvious electrical hazard, such as visible arcing, sparking, etc, there is absolutely zero need to delay an interior attack. None.

    I also completely agree with the idiotic statements by that chief.

  16. #91
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    Originally posted by GeorgeWendtCFI


    Cap, there are times when the electrical panel can present just as much of a hazard as the meter. Here is how I put it when I am teaching...

    "You are in more danger standing in a puddle of water, sticking your hands into an electrical panel that you know nothing about; you don't kow who put it in, if it was put in with permits, if it is grounded, if it is the reason for the fire or if it is going to kill you, than you are if you just leave it alone and go fight the fire."

    I posed the challenge for someone to research the stats on FF injuries due to electrical shock during interior operations. No one has yet answered. The reason is the stats don't exist. While you will find anecdotes of FF electric shock injuries, you will find that actual incidence is miniscule. Just go fight the fire.

    From another pespective, if you feel that you must turn off the breakers, only turn off the Main breaker. The fire investigator is going to be very interested in the position and condition of each breaker in that panel.
    George...excellent point... more than likely I was I was suffering from a bout with from cranial flatluance at the time I posted.

    *note to self...review IFSTA fire investigator!
    ‎"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

  17. #92
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    Originally posted by CaptainGonzo


    George...excellent point... more than likely I was I was suffering from a bout with from cranial flatluance at the time I posted.

    *note to self...review IFSTA fire investigator!
    Careful. You'll get accused of being one of my sycphants again.

  18. #93
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    Originally posted by GeorgeWendtCFI


    Careful. You'll get accused of being one of my sycphants again.
    Isn't a sycophant an insane pachyderm?
    ‎"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

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    My dept. SOP's state that we shut off the main breakers, NEVER EVER pull the meter. Heard too many horror stories about things going wrong. I'll leave the electric service to the professionals.
    "I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we know the work which a fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling."

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    After watching the video of a meter explosion i would rather take my chance with a 120VAC buzz than the exploding meter.
    I taught a class on "Shutting down Utilities" about 8 months ago and even though we don't pull meters, I was wanting to show a video of what happens if one does blow. Would it be possible for you, or anyone else send us a copy of the video so we can show it in our next utilities class, or does anyone know where a download can be found online? I've looked but haven't been able to find one.
    Scott Maples
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  21. #96
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    Originally posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
    Research project for someone...

    Research stats on how many FF are injured each year by electricity during INTERIOR (not on the exterior) operations.

    Not anecdotes, actual statistics.
    Nobody accepted the challenge, huh?

  22. #97
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    Stick, i've been working on trying to get a copy for our dept and another smoke eater on here. I will see what i can find out tomorrow and then we'll see from there.

  23. #98
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    From another pespective, if you feel that you must turn off the breakers, only turn off the Main breaker. The fire investigator is going to be very interested in the position and condition of each breaker in that panel
    Almost word for word from my County Fire Marshall's office.
    "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?

  24. #99
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    If anyone is still in doubt, I want to expand on an earlier analogy I made in this thread, which stated that "a nozzle ain't an axe, and a meter ain't a switch".

    Would you try to beat down a door using a nozzle if:

    * The occurence of injury or death from not opening the door is so rare that apparently no statistics are kept?
    * Chances are 50-50 that the door wouldn't open anyway?
    * The door could explode and maim or kill you?
    * You aren't even sure if it is the only door that "needs" to be opened?
    * If you would just try before you pry (main breaker instead of meter), you would accomplish 95% of what you wanted in the first place?

    No-brainer!!!!!

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    Stick, the electric co-op rep. that taught the class I attended a year or more ago claimed today that he showed no video at that class. I know he did, and I confirmed this with several others in the class.... So who knows. He talked like he wanted to come do another refresher class for us, which would be good. Maybe, just Maybe, I can find that video.

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