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PPL Electric Utilities
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Electric utility control during structural firefighting
Welcome to PPL Electric Utilities’ Tips of the Trade for first responders. These tips are intended to help you respond safely and effectively to incidents involving electricity. Please review with your team and visit our dedicated first responder safety website for additional materials.
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Coordinate with PPL Electric Utilities
Coordinate with PPL Electric Utilities

Structural firefighting operations place firefighters in direct proximity to electric power lines that may be compromised by fire conditions or by the fire suppression effort itself. These lines may pose hazards to a structure's occupants as well as to you and your team.

When responding to a structure fire, remember that utility personnel are the experts in utility control. PPL Electric Utilities should be asked to respond to every structure fire. Once on the scene, the utility representative should be incorporated into the command structure.

Protect yourself and building occupants


Identify the location of power lines, service drop wires and electrical panels during your 360-degree size-up.


During operations, communicate the status of electrical service to operating crews and your dispatch center.


Work with PPL Electric Utilities personnel to coordinate the safe control of electric utilities.


If the electrical panel is accessible and it is safe to do so, shut off the electrical breakers, working from the bottom breaker up to the main breaker.


Except in the case of a rescue, consider securing the electric service before entering hazardous areas, especially areas that accumulate water near electricity.


Be aware that fire conditions may cause energized power lines to sag or disconnect from their structure and drop to the ground.


Even after the electricity has been turned off, a backup generator may be in place and begin to operate. Treat all wires, machines and appliances inside the structure as potentially energized, and stay away.


When water must be used to protect exposures, stay at least 100 feet away from the source of electricity or any energized objects. Use a 30-degree fog pattern at 100 psi.


Ensure that all personnel, ladders and equipment remain at least 20 feet away from overhead power lines.


Coordinate with PPL Electric Utilities after the incident to restore electric service.

What NOT to do:


Do NOT use a solid stream of water to protect exposures around energized power lines or equipment.


Do NOT stand on the ground when operating aerial equipment in the vicinity of power lines.


Do NOT cut electrical lines, even if you believe that they have been de-energized.


Do NOT move downed electrical wires.


Do NOT disconnect the service wiring on a structure.


Do NOT pull the electrical meter out of the meter socket.


Do NOT enter utility vans or switching cabinets.

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To report utility emergencies, call PPL Electric Utilities at 1-800-342-5775 (1-800-DIAL-PPL) immediately. For more first responder safety information, visit ppl.e-smartresponders.com.
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