Emergency medical personnel, fire fighters or police officers are often the first to arrive at an accident scene or emergency. These first responders are most likely to encounter the potential hazards of electric facilities. As a first responder, doing your job successfully while protecting yourself and members of the public means you need to understand the hazards that may exist in any emergency situation.
In an effort to help educate first responders in order to perform their jobs safely and effectively, Liberty Utilities provides valuable information on responding to emergencies that may involve electric facilities.
- Downed Lines – An ice storm, windstorm, tornado, forest fire or flood can bring down power lines. A car accident also may snap a utility pole and drop a power line. If you see a downed power line, or any other wire, don't assume that it is insulated or “dead”. Stay at least 30 feet away from the wire (about the length of a school bus) and secure the area to keep others away, too. Remember that electricity can pass from an energized source through a victim. If a rescuer touches the victim, the rescuer also can become a victim.
- Notify the Utility – Contact the local utility and have trained personnel respond to the scene. Never attempt to handle wires yourself unless you are properly trained and equipped.
- Control Traffic – If possible, set out flares and stop or reroute traffic. Keep spectators away (at least 100 feet). After dark, light the scene as well as you can by directing headlights or spotlights on the broken or fallen wires. Metal or cable guard-rails, steel fences and telephone lines all may be energized by a fallen wire.
- Protect Yourself – During any rescue attempt, never rely on rubber boots, raincoats, rubber gloves or ordinary wire cutters for protection from electricity. Don't touch (or allow your clothing to contact) a wire, victim or vehicle that may be energized.
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