A pair of PPL employees helped prevent potentially serious injuries while assisting firefighters at a recent building fire in the Lancaster region.
Journeymen linemen Mike Burger and J.P. Keiffer made the good catch while responding to a recent fire at an industrial building. After arriving at the property, they learned that metal gutters along the roof of the industrial building were sparking.
Although firefighters told them that the fire was under control and that PPL’s assistance likely wasn’t needed, Burger and Keiffer requested that the crews take a STOP/Timeout to allow them to inspect the area given the unusual nature of the sparking gutters.
They soon discovered that the gutters were energized and that one of the firefighters’ metal ladders was placed up against those gutters, creating an unsafe condition. In addition, the bottom of the ladder was in water.
After assessing the situation more closely, Burger and Keiffer found that conduit used to carry electrical service from the top of the building to the bottom of the building was energized due to a melted connector. Some portion of the energized conduit was making contact with the downspout, causing both the downspout and gutters on the roof to be energized.
Had they not spoken up and taken the extra time to assess the hazards, the firefighters could have been injured.
“Through the use of situational awareness and a true caring for the well-being of others, Mike and J.P. prevented the first responders from putting themselves into a situation that could have had severe or even deadly consequences,” said field supervisor Mark Ivie. “The fact that they were willing to step up and put a stop to the situation says a lot about their character and passion for their work.”
Burger, a 12-year PPL employee, and Keiffer, in his 11th year with PPL, said they just trusted their instincts that day and put their human performance tools to work as they always do.
“As a company, we’ve been given the tools to look ahead and always keep safety in mind,” Burger said. “We’re not only looking to protect each other, we’re looking to protect every worker out there.”
Added Keiffer: “It’s a lesson for all of us to speak up when we don’t see something right.”
PPL Electric Utilities uses its Live Line Electrical Safety Exhibit to teach firefighters and other first responders about how to stay safe around power lines and other electrical equipment. To arrange a demonstration with a fire department or other organization that provides emergency services, contact Mark Santayana, manager-Public Safety, at MCSantayana@pplweb.com.