Today, PNM hosted training for approximately 25 local first responders on Electricity – Recognizing and Avoiding the Hazards in Santa Fe. Attendees from New Mexico State Police, Santa Fe County and the City of Santa Fe participated in classroom instruction and in the field with PNM lineman for hands-on training.
“PNM has a standing commitment to enhance the communities we serve and recognizes the extremely important role local emergency responders play in keeping the public safe,” said Dennis Hernandez, PNM Northern Area Manager of Operations. “Teaming and strengthening ties with our local first responders helps ensure their safety and the safety of others.”
PNM Foreman, Cale Chappelle and PNM linemen, Patrick Gonzales and Carlos Quintana provided hands-on safety instructions covering nine first responder learning objectives:
- Basic Electricity;
- Utility Electric System Chapter;
- Anatomy of an Electric Shock;
- Responding to Injuries;
- Approaching Energized Areas;
- Energized Vehicle Rescue;
- Emergencies Involving Electrical Equipment and Facilities;
- Electrical Hazards Associated with Building Fires;
- Substation Fires.
“First responders are there to help save our lives, today we trained them to save their lives,” said Cale Chappelle, PNM Foreman. “The bottom line is: if you see a downed line, assume it is energized. Wires are often intermingled with phone and cable and it is better to be safe than sorry.”
There are many safety hazards confronting first responders (i.e., police, firefighters and emergency medical personnel) when they arrive on the scene of an emergency. Energized electric lines and equipment are a primary concern, and risks can be lessened by applying some basic safety principles. These are things everyone should know:
Downed Lines: Stay at least 30 feet away from the wire and keep others away. Electricity can pass from an energized source through a victim. If a rescuer touches the victim, the rescuer also can become a victim. If you see a line on the ground, assume that it is energized.
Control Traffic: Keep spectators away (at least 100 feet). After dark, light the scene as well as you can by directing headlights or spotlights on the broken or fallen wires. Metal or cable guard-rails, steel fences and telephone lines all may be energized by a fallen wire.
Protect Yourself: Never rely on rubber tires, rubber boots, raincoats, rubber gloves or ordinary wire cutters for protection from electricity. Don’t touch (or allow your clothing to contact) a wire, victim or vehicle that may be energized.
Notify PNM: Never attempt to handle wires yourself unless you are properly trained and equipped.
PNM’s line crews are trained and experienced in assisting emergencies around electrical power wires. Witnesses should notify 911 immediately and let PNM line crews and emergency personnel respond to all incidents.