Electrical Safety Authority Launches Powerline Safety Campaign for First Responders

May 2, 2023

Powerline Safety for First Responders ESA

Educational materials aimed at reminding first responders to always assume downed powerlines are energized and deadly

On First Responders Day, the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) launched a new campaign to educate first responders in Ontario about the risks of downed powerlines and how to prevent harm. The campaign, a first of its kind in the province, focuses particularly on communicating how to safely handle arriving on the scene of a motor vehicle collision where a powerline has been knocked down. 

As a partner in community safety, the ESA is focused on ensuring that first responders are aware that if they arrive on the scene of a motor vehicle collision and a powerline has fallen on a vehicle or the ground, there is no way of knowing if it is energized and deadly,” said Patience Cathcart, Public Safety Officer, Electrical Safety Authority. “Members of fire, police and paramedic services put their lives on the line every day, and ESA wants them to remember that just because a powerline isn’t arcing, doesn’t mean it isn’t live. They need to call the local power utility and keep everyone, including themselves, at least 10 metres away.

Patience Cathcart, Public Safety Officer, Electrical Safety Authority

Powerline Safety for First Responders in Ontario

Contact with a powerline is a leading cause of electrical-related death in Ontario and first responders can make a real difference by helping to prevent some of these fatalities. As part of the campaign, the ESA is working with industry organizations and associations to better understand first responders’ awareness of powerline safety. These insights will be used to develop future training and educational materials to help keep first responders safe when responding to a call of this nature.

The ESA has created a powerline safety video and developed a new website landing page which provides step-by-step instructions on how to safely handle the situation. In addition, pocket-size safety cards are available free of charge to all first responders and includes a QR code that will direct to these online resources.

In addition to these new resources, the ESA offers the Electrical Safety Handbook for Emergency Responders. The handbook is produced in joint effort with Hydro One, the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management and Public Services Health & Safety Association. An updated edition is due to be released later this year.

For more information about the campaign and about first responder safety, please visit ESASafe.com/firstresponders. 

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