Emergency responder guidelines
General electrical issues
- Keep the public clear of the area.
- Never park your vehicle under power lines or close to electrical equipment.
- Never use water to contain the oil in transformers and other electrical equipment. Use kitty litter and dirt, then call Avista.
Downed power lines or damaged utility poles
- Stay clear of downed wires and keep others away.
- Don't move the wires.
- Don't assume a telephone or cable line on the ground is safe to move. It can be energized from somewhere else.
- Assume any nearby fence or object is also energized if the wire is touching it.
- Survey the area for other damage or wires that could cause problems.
- Avoid contact if oil is leaking from a transformer.
- Keep the oil away from storm drains and water ways.
- Beware of equipment on your vehicle such as pike poles. They may still conduct electricity because of dirt or carbon buildup.
Call us and give us an accurate pole location.
An emergency involving downed power lines in contact with a vehicle
- Do not touch the vehicle.
- Keep others away, because a line can spring in any direction when freed of the vehicle.
- Visually check the vehicle’s occupants and keep them calm and in the vehicle unless a threat is imminent (e.g., danger of fire or explosion).
- Instruct the occupant to open the door (but not step out)
- Jump free of the vehicle, landing on both feet together
- Shuffle, don't walk, away from the vehicle.
- What the person should never do: never be in contact with the ground and the vehicle at the same time.
- Do not touch an occupant, either while that person is in the vehicle or jumping from the vehicle.
What to do in a structural fire
- Turn off the power supply at the breaker panel or fuse box, if possible.
- Never pull the meter.
- Don't cut service wires at the weatherhead.
- Crawl or walk with arms raised in front of you, palms toward you if in a smoke-filled structure. It reduces the possibility of contacting or grabbing an energized line.
What to do if a pad-mount transformer, transformer vault or manhole is on fire.
- Assume it's energized and capable of electrocuting you. Assume anything in contact with the transformer is energized, too.
- If a vehicle is in contact with the transformer, treat the situation as you would a downed power line.
- Clear the entire area.
- Know that transformers can explode.
- Do not try to enter a vault or manhole containing burning electrical circuits or equipment.
Avista will let you know when the power has been turned off so you can proceed.