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Friday, January 29, 2010

Before you play that card

Engine 51 arrived on the scene of a downed power line.

Hmmmm. Which hat shall I wear today?

All right, I showed up in a fire truck, I guess I'll wear the yellow one with the face shield.

The road was blocked for two hours. There was the German guy who ignored my orders and threaded the traffic cones across all lanes, and then also weaved around 51 (which was parked squarely in the center of the road), continuing on up to the scene only to get 'corrected' by the Sheriff's deputy up there. Upon his return, I questioned him, and he pleaded the language barrier card. Sorry pal, traffic cones and fire trucks blocking the road are of a universal language, even if you pretend to not get the meaning of a red octagonal stop sign being waved at you. Or how about the off-duty Mayberry Assistant Chief who just blithely waved and also drove past my stop paddle, only to come back when he found he couldn't get through either. Are you freaking serious? Of all people? He's now on my List of people to be wary of.

But the best part was upon my initial arrival. A good samaritan was standing in the road waving for traffic to stop, until I took up position. He had parked his car directly under the power lines, under the next span downstream from the problem. These wires were under serious tension, as the conductors actually never separated when the pole came down. The wires from either side were stretched taut, under tension like rubber bands, holding the broken pole slightly off the ground, with all that weight transferred to the adjacent upstream and downstream poles and crossarms. He himself was probably only 50' away from the broken stuff in the street. If it broke free from there, he could have lost his head, literally.

If you've read this blog for a bit, you would know to never park or stand there, right? Don't get within two spans of recoil range, and especially don't get under the wires if you decide to go into the 'danger zone' against my advice.

As he left, I stopped him to give him some advice.

Grumpy Dispatcher: Thanks for the help, but I just want you to know... when power lines are down, you should never park under the wires. The next poles can also break and you would be right under them.

Good Samaritan: Oh, it's OK, I work for Kinda Small Public Power Company.

GD: Oh really? I work for Very Big Power & Light, I'm a dispatcher. What do you do at KSPPC?

GS: .......uh, Business Services.

GD: Yeah. OK. Why don't you just stay back in the future until you get some safety awareness training from your field division, OK? But I appreciate your willingness to help. Have a nice day.

Before you feign to play a card, know who you're playing it to. Better yet, don't play it unless you really have it.

Have a nice day.


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