Flash Burn

BostonBull

New Member
This is a cross post from the General forum, I thought it would fit well here too.








We were working 4 poles down from 3 line crews today. We were doing a large hazard removal for the current power upgrade these workers were brought in to do. There was a 13.8kV Hendrix circuit, and they are adding 2 more 10' above this one.

I got in the truck to back it up a few feet, set the air brake and hit the PTO button. I looked up to view the work down the road and all I saw was an orange fireball envelope the entire street and line trucks, then thick black smoke. The explosion wasn't a loud "blast" it was a deep bass sounding explosion. 2 phases of the Hendrix circuit touched and melted to the ground while a worker was repairing weather cracks in the jacket of one of the phases. Luckily the lines were in NON re-close, and they were dead as soon as they flashed. The third phase had half of its strands broken.

The crew jumped into action INSTANTLY and had the man down faster than I could start to walk down to see what had happened. All of the crews had police details, NOT FLAGGERS!, and this man had 6 police officers on scene instantly and within 1-2 minutes, fire, EMS, and electric light company on site. Forever impressed with how fast this rescue and response happened.

By the time I walked the 1000' the injured worker was sitting on the steps on the side of the truck. His hardhat, glasses, shirt, and full body harness were all burned off of him. He was awake, talking, and could see. He had his left arm still in what was left of his fire retardant shirt, and paramedics were feverishly cutting it off. He was burned down to his facial muscles on 3/4 of his face, had no hair left, and his entire torso had burns from his pants up. I think the bucket must have ended at where his pants began? His fire retardant clothing did its job and protected him, and his crew clearly saved his life. They applied gel blankets and packs for electrical burns instantly.

I will never forget the man without a face staring across the road at me and my crew.

BE SAFE!
 

Brian Latimer

New Member
Good point on paying for an officer. Having a first responder there with you all day is better than buying insurance!

Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
 

mrtree

Well-Known Member
Couple points

1) the first responder on this job should be a fellow (trained) employee not a police officer who may have no idea of emergency response for electricity. Police, fire, paramedics etc. should only be approaching after the site is clear and proven de-energized.

2) the worker should have been wearing AF (Arc Flash) clothing not FR (Fire Resistant) clothing, two different animals.

3) fast response indicates training and thinking. Excellent response indicate excellent training and thinking. Would a tree service be able to have this response? They should!!!

I grew up in a town with a (former) linesman with two hooks for hands. A very strong reminder of why we need to work safe.
 

TimBr

Well-Known Member
@mrtree; Your point #2 was what popped into my head when I first read the story, too. I just wasn't sure if the rules of operation might be different for those guys because of their training and procedures. I have seen pieces of electrical gear that have had signs affixed to them that say that there is no level of protective gear rated highly enough to protect a person from an arc flash from said equipment.

I imagine the same might be true of such high voltage distribution lines, and that perhaps they permit the work to be done "hot" wearing just what that worker had on, because the arc-flash suit is such an impediment to easy mobility and dexterity. Besides possibly not having a high enough rating to be effective, anyway. That's the only thing I can think of as a legitimate reason for the gear he was wearing. The other safe option is to shut the line down, no matter how many folks lose power. That doesn't seem to be something the utility company likes to do, though. The only time I hear about power outages are when they are acts of nature or a failure of parts of the system.

Tim
 

mrtree

Well-Known Member
Linesman do not wear bomb suits they wear a lighter grade of AF clothing. AF clothing is designated by Cal rating and must comply with the regulations one is working under.

FR is often Nomex and not meant for AF, it used for firefighter clothing and often by workers on oil platforms and pipelines.
 

flyingsquirrel25

Well-Known Member
Couple points

1) the first responder on this job should be a fellow (trained) employee not a police officer who may have no idea of emergency response for electricity. Police, fire, paramedics etc. should only be approaching after the site is clear and proven de-energized.
Absolutely disagree 100%.
You and your people on the site know the electrical and tree and the site, they know the anatomy of people. We should be working together with fire, ems and police to save our injured. There are very few Arborists, or line men that have the skill level of caring for an injured person then our first responders. But I would not expect them to know how to lower a bucket or efficiently rescue a climber. This is why we NEED to be working hand in hand with them to achieve our end goal.
Everyone goes home!
 

mrtree

Well-Known Member
Well paramedics etc. cannot deal with the anatomy of people if they are dead because they are not familiar with electricity and working with it. No paramedic or police or fireman knows the number the emergency number for the distribution control centre, they do not know the pole numbers etc. thus the first person responding must be on the crew. Police etc. are minutes away, the crew is on site and what they do may determine what the paramedics can do.
 

ROYCE

Well-Known Member
Well paramedics etc. cannot deal with the anatomy of people if they are dead because they are not familiar with electricity and working with it. No paramedic or police or fireman knows the number the emergency number for the distribution control centre, they do not know the pole numbers etc. thus the first person responding must be on the crew. Police etc. are minutes away, the crew is on site and what they do may determine what the paramedics can do.
BULL SHIT!! Your telling me that the fire, police, or paramedics can't figure that out? They deal with this stuff all the time. They have a network that they deal with. We had a downed line a few years ago and called the police. They came out and knew exactly who to call and how to deal with the situation.
 

mrtree

Well-Known Member
Bull Shit right back to you.

I don't know if you know anything about electrical line clearing etc. but your very first response is a mayday call to the control centre, not police, not EMS etc. These organizations do not need to figure this out as a tree service working within limits of approach must have contact with the control centre or the tree service and its owners and supervisors are negligent.
 

mrtree

Well-Known Member
Of course you could be in a remote location working and waiting for EMS while you employee is continually electrocuted, or perhaps the sparking starts a fire etc., and hope and pray that EMS knows what to do when they arrive. What about when you are at the interface between two electricity providers, what do you do?

The tree crew is the one who needs to know. This is basic life-saving knowledge that no company should be operating without.

Of course you could do what a local crane company did and contact the primaries, kill the operator, have the son/rigger run around and also die.

SO yes people do die from elctricity on a regular basis and it is often the ones who do not know the hazard, risks and precautions.
 

mrtree

Well-Known Member
Well, it truly is a marvel that ANYONE survives ANYTHING without the guidance of Mrtree. Or do they?
Don't need to listen to me, I really don't give a damn if you are alive or a burnt crisp. Do as you like but there are really good rules in place that are proven to save lives.

Read Dripline sometime and see how people are dying and injured, it is by no means a complete list yet there are 125 deaths tallied as of today.
 

mrtree

Well-Known Member
Since virtually no nobody on this board will ever work with me, don't worry about anything I say, do as you please, perhaps do what your laws require. What I say does not need to make any impact on you or anybody else for that matter.
 

flyingsquirrel25

Well-Known Member
@mrtree all I'm saying is we should get to know our first responders. Get to know what they offer, what their knowledge base is, what resources they have. Don't automatically disqualify them, and expect a bunch of idiots to show up that know nothing about what we are doing.
As a captain of a busy volunteer fire department I take offense to your view of our first responders. We are very knowledgeable about OUR job which expands every time some idiot finds another way to hurt themselves. I work with some of the best rope rescue personnel I know, I would trust my life to our resident lineman and surprisingly the farm boys are great with rescues involving equipment. And the most important trait that everyone of the firefighters, police and EMS personnel I work with is PERSEVERANCE, DEDICATION AND NOT KNOWING HOW TO GIVE UP.
Basic life saving knowledge - know the address, first aid/CPR and most importantly how to use a phone to dial 9-1-1.
 

mrtree

Well-Known Member
I have no view of your first responders. Call them what you like, imagine that they know more than the people working on the energized lines and be offended as you like. I will put my faith in a well trained crew in contact with the control centre.

Yes and please be stupid enough to think that I don't know how to use a phone.
 

ROYCE

Well-Known Member
Don't need to listen to me, I really don't give a damn if you are alive or a burnt crisp. Do as you like but there are really good rules in place that are proven to save lives.

Read Dripline sometime and see how people are dying and injured, it is by no means a complete list yet there are 125 deaths tallied as of today.
Don't worry, no one is listening to you mrtree
 

ROYCE

Well-Known Member
You clearly are. Oh maybe you are a nobody.
Yes, you are correct. I am a nobody! I am a hobborist. (thats a hobby arborist) I just find all your electricity talk intriguing. But remember this nobody had his name and his picture posted. I am not hiding....MrTree!!!
 
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