Car hits pole

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Car hits pole

Post  BC_boy on Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:06 pm

Rescuers stalled by BC Hydro



By Paul Rudan - Campbell River Mirror
Published: May 17, 2011 1:00 PM
Updated: May 17, 2011 2:36 PM

Injured and bleeding, she wants out of the car wreck.

“Get me out of here!” she pleads.

Standing by are firefighters, paramedics and police. But there’s little they can do until a hydro crew arrives. Instead, they offer calm and authoritative reassurances.

“Stay there!”

“Help is coming!”

“Don’t move!”

The 36-year-old injured driver listens and stays put. For now.

Approximately 15 minutes earlier, she was driving south on Alder, between 6th and 7th Avenues, when she lost control of the red two-door Oldsmobile and slammed straight into a utility pole on the right side of street.

The impact splits the wood pole, crushes the front end of the car and sends the front left hubcap spinning 40 metres up the road.

Emergency crews arrive within minutes of the 911 call, which comes at 4:47 p.m., and quickly close off the street to traffic. But there’s not much else they can do.

The pole supports live wires, a 1,000-pound transformer and a street light. The fear is the pole will collapse and could electrocute the victim as well as emergency workers.

“My family expects me home tonight,” says a firefighter.

So he stands and waits for BC Hydro to arrive in order to secure the pole and cut the power. However, he walks partway across the street and uses a pole to slip an insulating pad under the woman’s feet – she’s sitting halfway out from the driver’s seat – just in case.

And then he retreats back to where the other emergency workers are standing and waiting. They keep looking up the road for hydro to arrive and their frustration mounts.

“Come on, come,” he mutters.

The female victim is also becoming impatient as she cries out in pain, “I can’t make it, you don’t understand!”

But they do understand and implore her to stay inside the car.

“Deep breaths, nice and slow. The hospital’s waiting for you,” says a paramedic.

At 5:15 p.m., a BC Hydro boom truck and a lineman arrives. He assesses the situation, but does nothing. A second truck is required to properly secure the heavy transformer.

Ten minutes later, the second truck and lineman shows up. They manoeuvre their trucks beside the pole as one worker goes up in the bucket and secures the transformer to the boom.

Finally, at 5:39 p.m., emergency crews safely cross the street and attend to the victim. She’s loaded onto a stretcher and taken to Campbell River hospital with undisclosed injuries.

It’s been almost an hour since she hit the pole.

– The accident also knocked out power across a good portion of the city. According to BC Hydro, 2,163 customers are affected. Hydro crews remain at the scene for four hours to replace the pole and then the power is turned back on at 9:09 p.m.

paulr@campbellrivermirror.com


Last edited by BC_boy on Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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And the Rebuttal

Post  BC_boy on Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:08 pm

Accident response wasn’t slow, says Hydro



By Paul Rudan - Campbell River Mirror
Published: May 19, 2011 1:00 PM
Updated: May 24, 2011 12:05 PM

Arriving at an accident scene within 25 minutes is well under the normal standard for BC Hydro, according to hydro spokesperson who took umbrage with Wednesday’s story, “Rescuers stalled by BC Hydro.”

“The article likely left readers with the impression that BC Hydro was slow in responding to safety,” wrote Karla Louwers, in an e-mail. “BC Hydro, particularly crews in Campbell River, find this distressing and we appreciate the opportunity for clarification.”

It’s the policy of BC Hydro to respond to downed power lines in urban areas within an hour and within two hours in rural areas.

The accident on Monday, around 4:45 p.m., involved a single car slamming into a utility pole in the 600 block of Alder St. In addition to electrical and communication cables, the pole supported a 1,000 pound transformer and a street light.

The force of the collision split the entire pole in at least three places and emergency responders on scene were unable to attend to the injured female driver until hydro crews arrived.

Some of the first responders on scene also expressed frustration with having to wait, but they also knew the safety of everyone was paramount, especially if the pole collapsed with live lines.

“My family expects me home tonight,” said one firefighter.

And the safety is the primary concern, Louwers stressed.

“The responders were not delayed by BC Hydro; they were responding as quickly and safely as possible due to the complexity of the accident,” she wrote.

“We understand in emergency situations time is critical, but corners cannot be cut when working with electricity. Our crews minimize the risks that could have led to serious injury or fatality not just of the victim, but other responders as quickly and safely as possible.”

The first hydro truck and crewman arrived approximately 25 minutes after the accident occurred.

However, after assessing the situation, the crewman waited for another boom truck to arrive in order to support the heavy transformer.

When he did arrive 10 minutes later, the two worked quickly and efficiently to support the transformer on the boom. They also ensured the 25,000 volt-circuit was de-energized – which occurred upon impact – and was also isolated. The latter is crucial, noted Louwers.

“Even if the entire town was de-energized, without isolating the circuit, there would still be potential of back-feeding into the system,” she wrote. “An example would be a portable generator plugged directly into the household circuit feeding into the electrical grid. This is why it is important to always stay at least 10 metres away from downed lines – you don’t know if they are energized.”

She also pointed out that hydro crews work normal daytime shifts and the crewman who responded to the accident were on call. They also don’t have the advantage of speeding to accident scenes using lights and sirens.
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