CMP trainer discusses electrical safety with Lincolnville firefighters
Lincolnville — Lincolnville firefighters gathered Feb. 19 for electrical safety training provided by Chris Page of Central Maine Power Co.
Page said he travels around the state providing training at institutions including schools, military bases and emergency management agencies. He also said he teaches residential electrical safety.
The training took place at Lincolnville Center Fire Station and covered electrical safety pertaining to fire and rescue calls including structure fires, downed wires and poles, vehicle/power pole collisions and situations involving electrical lines and water on the ground.
"Electricity, from the time it's generated wants to get to the ground," Page said. He said flooded basements continue to be a particular hazard for homeowners and emergency responders because water is conducive to electricity.
"110 volts will kill you if you're walking around in those basements," said Page.
Page also spoke about the dangers of electric wires when responding to crashes that involve a vehicle and a utility pole. Those crashes frequently result in downed lines that can pose a danger to responders, passersby and vehicle occupants, he said.
He added downed wires also can be hard to see, especially at night.
"Don't just jump out and start walking around," said Page.
He cautioned against getting too close to a vehicle when downed wires are present and said that it is imperative to notify the occupant of that vehicle that they must stay inside the car until electrical workers arrive to cut off the flow of electricity.
He said in the event of a crash involving a vehicle that is on fire or has a severely injured person inside firefighters can call CMP and report the pole number of the involved pole, CMP can then "dump the whole [power] system" — or shut off power to the surrounding area — to ensure the safety of rescue workers.
Page said water should not be used in controlling any sort of electrical fire.
"You can't spray water on electricity, whatever water touches, it will energize that [thing]," he cautioned.
He recalled an incident in Auburn where downed electrical wires energized a metal guard rail for three miles extending from the scene of that incident. He further advised to exercise caution when using aluminum ladders, and said ladders should always be "carried sideways" rather than vertically.
"It's a firefighter's duty to save lives, including your own," Page said.
Courier Publications reporter Jenna Lookner can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.