It’s a heroic job being the first responders on scene after a car crash or a fire. Often times, I&M line workers or meter operation specialists help police and fire departments if a power line falls into a roadway or power needs to be stopped to a home after a fire.
What happens if a downed power line needs to be secured before I&M arrives? Recently our line workers from across southwest Michigan used I&M’s safety trailer to deliver a free safety training to fellow first responders.
In August the Van Buren County Fire Chiefs Association hosted nine local police, fire and public works departments at the Bangor Fire Station. Participants included members of the Paw Paw Fire Department, who lost one of their own earlier this year to a fatal injury involving a downed power line.
“Thank you to Indiana Michigan Power for offering this free unique electrical safety demonstration to local fire departments and police officers,” said Derek Babcock, Bangor Fire Chief. “From the new firefighters and police officers to the veteran brigade, the safety messages hit home for us. We won’t forget this live demonstration of the electrical hazards we could encounter on a scene.”
“At I&M, we want everyone to go home to their families each day, including our fellow first responders, customers and employees,” said Wesley Lee, I&M manager of Distribution System for southwest Michigan. “Using the safety trailer, we were able to demonstrate in real-time how to secure a scene involving a downed power line, how to proceed if a downed power line is on or near a vehicle, what may happen if someone’s arms or feet comes into contact with a power line and that some standard-issue protective gear – like rubber boots does not protect from electric shock.”
For those first responders who attended, the most valuable learning opportunity came from our line workers.
“Line workers are who first responders call to make scenes safe so we can do our work. So, being able to troubleshoot with those line workers was great,” said Babcock. “Having those conversations was not only educational, but we enjoyed listening to the line workers because we could all tell just how much they love what they do and love making sure their customers and communities stay safe.”
I&M’s Electrical Safety Demonstration Trailer was built in 2008. Our line workers have given the demonstration at schools, community centers and to first responders across Indiana and Michigan.
“At I&M, safety for our employees, customers and our communities is our guiding principle. No one knows that more than our line workers. I’m proud of the team for stepping up, operating the safety trailer and making sure our first responders stay safe as they serve the community,” said Lee.
For more information on power line safety visit www.IndianaMichiganPower.com/safety.