First responders prepare for electrical hazards

Mitchell – Emergency responders are usually the first to arrive on the scene of an accident or fire, so they face a greater risk of encountering electrical hazards such as damaged equipment or downed power lines. 

In an effort to protect and educate area first responders, Central Electric Cooperative offered free electrical safety training at their headquarters west of Mitchell on April 24. Attendees included firefighters and emergency medical technicians (EMTs). The annual training event helps improve safety and bridge the gap between first responders and electric cooperative personnel. 

During the training, Central Electric’s Manager of Operations Brian Bultje showed common examples of electrical meters and provided guidance on protocols for disconnecting power during an emergency. 

“One key point to remember is that emergency personnel should try to notify the electric utility as soon as possible,” Bultje said. “When there’s a structure fire, power will typically need to be disconnected, and we don’t have the luxury of driving with lights and sirens.” 

Bultje added, “Pulling the meter does not guarantee the power is off. Take that extra step and call us so we can dispatch crews and keep everyone safe.” 

Electrician Rodney Weber answered questions about fires involving solar panels, and independent instructor Brian Baldwin guided participants through a hands-on bucket truck rescue. The training ended with a high-voltage safety demonstration led by Line Superintendent Dusty Roskens to show the damage electricity can cause. 

Participating organizations included the Woonsocket T&C Fire District, Fedora Volunteer Fire Department, Canova Volunteer Fire Department, Carthage Ambulance, Chamberlain/Oacoma Fire Department, Crow Creek Sioux Ambulance, Grass Ranch Colony Fire Department, Kimball Fire Department and Ambulance Service, Mitchell Fire Department, Plankinton Volunteer Fire Department, Rosedale Colony Fire Department, Spencer Volunteer Fire Department, Stickney Volunteer Fire Department, and White Lake Ambulance. 

By the end of the three-hour training, attendees gained insight and knowledge to keep themselves and others safe during emergencies.

…See a picture in this week’s issue of the Sanborn Weekly Journal!

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