There was a long wait for Endeavour Energy to make the wires safe and a large portion of the community were late getting home as a result with the road being closed for almost three hours. We got the call at 3.56pm and left the scene at 6.55.
The incident highlighted the significant issues that we face with electricity
Members of the public and even the police seemed to be oblivious to the dangers of the fallen wires with one individual stepping over them. The top wire that came down carried 415 volts and it fell over the 240v lines. This was enough to completely fry the switchboard at 1244 BLOR. In previous incidents we have seen electrical fittings inside houses completely melted.
RFS Operational Protocols specify we keep a minimum distance of 8 metres from fallen power lines. The issues are compounded by the lines falling in grass where they are not easy to see. In this instance we also had lines down the whole way across the road.
Our Operational Protocols also specify 8 meters as the minimum distance to approach fires in Electric Vehicles with the requirement to also remain upwind because the noxious gases from a lithium fire are poisonous.
We have similar issues with structure fires where the solar array will still generate very high voltages even when they are turned off at the switchboard. And in the recent example of a power pole on fire we cannot put water directly on the pole as the current can come back down the water jet and potentially electrocute the volunteer on the hose.
So please be very careful around electricity!
Endeavour had two Elevated Work Platforms at the fallen power poles as we went home after the RFS meeting at the fire shed and hopefully power was completely restored to the Heights soon after.