Winter storm season is here… are you prepared?

Preparation is key for a safe storm season. How has your department prepared?

With powerful winds and record breaking snowfall wreaking havoc, catastrophic effects can arise. After storms have passed and first responders have moved in to clear the scene, an often-overlooked danger is downed power lines. Winter storms can cause electrical lines to be ripped off utility poles, potentially energizing other surfaces such as water or guard rails.

Just because a power line is no longer attached to the utility pole does not mean it is not energized. If the power line is still carrying electricity, it can cause other conductive surfaces to carry electricity as well. For example, if a power line becomes detached from the pole and falls onto a metal guard rail, the entire guardrail can become energized.

Downed lines are not always visible which poses a threat to the community. Drifting snow or banks of snow can potentially cover up energized lines, causing a great threat during storm recovery. People shoveling snow could be in danger if they encounter a downed line because the human body acts as a conductor for electricity. Electricity seeks the shortest path to ground and that path may be through the first person that unexpectedly encounters a downed line.

To effectively detect downed lines during storm recovery, the V-Watch Personal Voltage Detector will do the job. The V-Watch can be worn on the user’s gear for hands free voltage detection. When electricity is detected, the user is alerted with a loud beep and flashing light. To learn more about personal voltage detection devices or to request a demo, visit hdefirstresponder.com.