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First Responder


Emera Maine works to keep customers informed in emergency situations where energized electrical equipment creates a hazard. First Responders (i.e., law enforcement officers, fire fighters, ambulance attendants, etc.) may encounter a wide variety of emergency situations, and specific insight is offered below.

Consider it Loaded



 

Consider it Loaded

Always use proper caution with fallen wires even though some may appear harmless. Electrical equipment requires the same awareness and caution you would use with a firearm. Always "consider it loaded." In situations where no emergency exists and human life is not in any immediate danger, wait for the local utility personnel to secure the area. They have the knowledge and equipment to complete the job safely.

 

First on the Scene

Law enforcement officers, fire fighters or EMT/Paramedics are usually first on the scene when power lines are down -- usually as a result of storms, damaged utility poles or fallen branches. They need to be aware of the hazards and procedures involved in dealing with emergencies resulting from fallen energized wires.

 

Quiet but Dangerous

Electricity seeks the easiest path to ground. If your equipment creates that path, you will be placing yourself (and possibly others) in life-threatening danger. In some situations, fallen wires snap and twist, sending out lethal sparks as they strike the ground. At other times the wires lie quietly; producing no sparks or warning signals, yet are potentially as dangerous. The first rule is to consider any fallen or broken wire extremely dangerous and not to come within eight feet of it.

 

Notify the Utility

Notify the local utility and have trained personnel immediately sent to the scene. Have an ambulance or rescue unit dispatched if necessary. Remember, do not attempt to handle wires yourself unless you are properly trained and equipped.

 

When a Car Strikes a Pole

When a vehicle strikes a utility pole, the power line can snap and fall on the car. If you witness an accident like this, please advise the car's occupants to stay in the car. Call the police and the local power company. Do not come in contact with either the car or its occupants. If the car catches fire, instruct the occupants to leap, not step, from the car. To step out could put them in danger of creating a circuit between the wire, the energized car, and the ground -- with deadly results.

If firefighters are on the scene, they should be able to handle the situation; most firefighters are trained to deal with electric power emergencies and will have the proper equipment to do so. If you must extinguish a car fire without the aid of fire fighters, use only dry chemical or CO2 extinguishers.

If the car's occupants are injured and cannot leap to safety, you may be able to use your vehicle to push them out of contact with the wire. If you do this, look around the vehicle before leaving your car; there may be another fallen wire behind you or a wire hooked to your bumper. If there is (or you suspect there is), leap from your vehicle.

 

Check for Vital Signs

Once a victim has been removed from the electric hazard, immediately check vital signs. If the victim has no pulse and is not breathing, begin cardio-pulmonary resuscitation immediately (and any other appropriate first-aid treatment) until he or she is placed in the ambulance.

 

Protecting Yourself

In any rescue attempt, it is essential that you protect yourself. Do not, under any circumstance, rely on rubber boots, raincoats, rubber gloves or ordinary wire cutters for protection. Above all, do not touch (or allow your clothing to touch) a wire, a victim, or a vehicle that is possibly energized.

 

A Safe Partnership

As a first responder you may someday face the challenge of working with hazardous electric power. With knowledge, training and experience (and an on-going partnership with Emera Maine) your job will be much safer.

For more information, please contact Emera Maine’s Safety Department at 207-973-2868.

Please Identify Your Service Area

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Emera Maine provides electric delivery service to two areas – the Bangor Hydro District and the Maine Public District.

  • The Bangor Hydro District includes Hancock, Piscataquis and Washington Counties and most of Penobscot County.
  • The Maine Public District serves Aroostook County and a small piece of Penobscot County.

Because some information varies by District, please identify your District on the map above, or enter your town or zipcode. If you need information on both Districts,  switch back and forth at any time by selecting the district selector button.

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