Electrical safety first for East of England’s firefighters

Photo: Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service.

All six fire and rescue services across the East of England have signed up to a new agreement designed to keep emergency crews and the public safe near high voltage electrical equipment.

Electricity firm UK Power Networks created a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which sets out procedures and responsibilities in the event of an incident involving electricity, to ensure safe working areas. The power company will work with the fire and rescue services to quickly make safe any electrical equipment, which would pose a hazard, so that emergency services’ works can be carried out without delay.

In order to deliver electricity to homes and businesses, there are more than 69,000 substations based in communities across the East of England, as well as 62,000km of underground cable and 32,000km of overhead lines. The six fire and rescue services signed up (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk) can now see the locations of such equipment, and know to gain assurances about electrical safety when arriving at a site where there are ‘danger of death’ signs in place.

Peter Vujanic, Head of Health and Safety at UK Power Networks, said, “Working safely and maintaining the safety of the general public and the people who help them such as the emergency services is our top priority. This Memorandum of Understanding defines protocols, which will ensure any incidents involving electricity and fire are dealt with in an effective manner providing a safe working area for firefighters.”

Stuart Ruff, Chief Fire Officer for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, speaking on behalf of all six fire services in the East, said, “Agreements which help to enhance the safety of our crews and the public across the Eastern region are very welcome. This MOU will help to ensure that in the event of incidents involving fire fighting or rescues associated with the electricity distribution infrastructure, our work can be done safely and swiftly with the full support of UK Power Networks.”