October 17, 2017

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Downed Wires

Gordon Graham
Category: Public Safety

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for public safety.

We need to know how to stay alive and to help others stay safe.

Today’s Tip deals with downed electrical wires. While Today’s Tip applies to everyone in public safety, I am certain that firefighters already know this information. 

As first responders, we may encounter power poles that are hit by cars or downed lines from storms. We need to know how to stay alive and to help others stay safe.  

If you see a line that is down, assume that it is energized. Ask the communications center to contact the appropriate utility to de-energize the lines. Be aware that the ground in the area may be electrically charged. Don’t drive over a downed line and stay inside your car if at all possible 

If you absolutely must get out of the car, like if it is on fire,  you should jump out. Try to land with your feet as close together as possible.  

Be aware of touch potential. If you touch an energized object, such as your car, with one part of your body while you are touching another energized area, such as the ground, the electrical current can flow through your body.  

Once you have both feet on the ground, be aware of step potential and do not take normal steps. Instead, shuffle step, keeping your feet as close together as possible. Electrical current can flow up from the ground through one foot, through the body and back to the ground through the other foot. The further apart your feet are, the greater the potential for shock. Shuffle step until you are at least 35 feet away from the downed lines. 

That’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon, Graham signing off.  

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