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31 Year-old fire chief electrocuted in North Carolina, November 15, 1986.
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 87-16, 1986 Nov; :1-5
The chief of a volunteer fire department was electrocuted while attempting to free an injured person from a vehicle involved in an accident. At the time of his death he was holding a winch cable which came in contact with downed, energized power lines. The fire chief was also a full time paid fire fighter at a nearby city fire department. A car had gone off the road, striking a utility pole carrying a 7200 volt three phase power line. One conductor was on the ground and two were suspended approximately 3 to 5 feet above the ground. A steel cable was passed between a conductor on the ground and two sagging conductors, and attached to the luggage rack of the accident vehicle. The ground was wet from a prior rain. Six firemen, the chief, an emergency medical technician (EMT) and a bystander were holding on to the steel cable, when they were told to stand back. Five firemen let go, the luggage rack pulled loose from the car and contacted the energized lines, electrocuting the chief and the bystander. One fireman and the EMT received severe electrical burns. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was not successful in reviving the fire chief. Recommendations include deenergizing all power lines in the vicinity of an accident scene before any rescue attempt, use of personal protective equipment by all fire personnel, allowing only authorized rescue personnel to assist in rescue procedures, training firemen in recognition and appreciation of hazards, and assigning responsibility for coordinating activities at an accident site.
NIOSH-Author; FACE-87-16; Region-4; Accident-analysis; Safety-practices; Rescue-workers; Rescue-measures; Electrical-hazards; Electric-power-transmission-lines
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division