Electrical safety basics

Substation fires

  • Let it burn. Burning electrical equipment is already ruined and will be replaced. Contact the local utility and wait for them to arrive.
  • Isolate the area at least 300 feet in all directions. Keep unauthorized persons away.
  • Be alert to the risk of transformer explosions, smoke hazards and oil releases. Stay upwind and consider initial downwind evacuation for at least 1000 feet.
  • Monitor for oil runoff; direct it away from catch basins or surface waters.
  • If an equipment fire must be suppressed, utility personnel and your incident commander will tell you how to proceed.

Successful response to substation fire

A circuit breaker containing 20 gallons of mineral oil caught fire and exploded at a rural electric substation. Flames and smoke shot 200 feet into the air. Firefighters evacuated nearby residences within 300 feet, set up a 100-foot perimeter around the substation, closed the nearby highway, and let the fire run its course. Thanks to proper response procedures, no one was injured.

 

 

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