One firefighter electrocuted and one seriously injured when an aluminum extension ladder contacts a 7,600 volt overhead power line.
New Jersey Department of Health
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 93NJ026, 1993 Jun; :1-5
On March 20, 1993, a 47 year-old male firefighter was electrocuted and a second firefighter was seriously injured while positioning a 35 foot aluminum extension ladder at a fire scene. The incident occurred outside a three story building that had an active working fire on the third floor. The victim, who was off duty and in the area when the fire was discovered, was placed on duty by the Chief in charge of the fire scene and was ordered to assist in raising a ladder to the third floor window of the structure. As the victim (who was not wearing firefighter's turn-out gear) and two other firefighters positioned the ladder near the building, two of them apparently slipped on ice and snow on the sidewalk and lost control of the ladder. The ladder fell back and contacted a 7,600 volt overhead power line, electrocuting the victim and critically injuring a second firefighter. The third firefighter received a minor electric shock but was not injured. NJDOH FACE investigators concluded that, in order to prevent similar incidents in the future, employers should follow these safety guidelines: 1. Fire Departments should ensure that all firefighters are trained in the recognition and avoidance of electrical hazards. 2. Fire Departments should have a written standard operating procedure for operating near electrical hazards. 3. Fire Departments should consider equipping each ladder truck with a non-conductive fiberglass ladder. 4. Fire Departments should require an observer to watch the placement of ladders near power lines.
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