First Responder Beware® Electrical Safety Presenter's Guide
The First Responder Beware presentation from EnergyUnited is designed to provide firefighters, police, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and paramedics with the information they need to recognize and work safely around electrical infrastructure while responding to emergencies.
This presentation guide will help you make the most of the First Responder Beware program. It contains six sections:
Section One: Know Your Audience
Understanding how first responders learn best will help you tailor your presentation to this unique audience. Take into consideration the following learning preferences:
First responders tend to be action-oriented learners who do best when given an opportunity to practice and repeat recommended behaviors, and they favor a hands-on approach.
First responders benefit from significant discussion time during the presentation, including opportunities to relate new information to prior experiences and events.
First responders are very focused on core priorities: their own survival, safe and timely rescue of incident victims, and protection of property.
First responders respect authority and expertise. Instructors should have a solid command of the topic and be well organized.
First responders are conscientious learners. If the material is presented as being important to their work and lives, they will be a responsive, eager, and respectful audience.
First responders prefer practical (rather than theoretical) information. Keep the focus on real-life situations.
Section Two: Electricity Basics
This section will help you answer questions about electricity from session participants.
What Is Electricity?
Electricity results from the flow of electrons between atoms that occurs when atoms carry different charges. Electrons are negatively charged, and flow to positively charged atoms until the charge is level or neutral.
The Electricity Distribution System
Most of the nation’s electricity is generated at power plants. A thick coil of wire spins inside giant magnets at the plant, moving the electrons in the wire and making electricity flow.
Wires on tall transmission towers carry high-voltage electricity from power plants to substations, where the voltage is typically reduced. From substations, electricity travels on smaller wires that branch out down streets, either overhead or underground.
Overhead and underground power lines carry electricity to transformers on poles or in underground structures, where the voltage is reduced again to a level that is safe for typical use. From transformers, electricity travels into buildings through service wires. These wires connect to the meter panel, which is connected to all the wires that energize wall outlets and switches.
Note that electric-line workers receive extensive training and are experts in handling power lines. They also have special equipment for handling electric infrastructure. First responders should understand that even with training, their understanding of electricity is basic, and their equipment, even if it appears insulated, is not designed or tested to prevent electric shock.
Section Three: Plan Your Session
A well organized, informed instructor will gain participants’ respect and be far more effective. Below are some recommendations to help you prepare for the electrical safety presentation with confidence.
Know Your Material
Always preview the materials before showing them to session participants. Gathering information in advance can be useful and make presentation materials more relevant. Review all the materials and rehearse your presentation well before the session.
Make the Material Relevant
Identify the key electrical infrastructure that first responders in your presentation session may encounter when responding to emergencies, and focus the group’s attention on these topics during the presentation:
Tailor the Session to the Presentation Space, Audience Size, and Allotted Time
Consider the size of the presentation space and audience. A large group will require different media than will a smaller one. If the room size is very large for the group, be sure it is arranged as intimately as possible to keep all participants involved.
Remember that first responders are hands-on, action-oriented learners. The session will need to include opportunities to simulate recommended practices and to discuss potential applications of the material. Room size and arrangement can have a measurable impact on the participation level. Consider:
Just as room and audience size can impact the effectiveness of training, so can session time. No one learns well sitting for long periods. On the other hand, cramming too much information into a short session can reduce retention. Plan your session to allow time for discussions and simulations.
If there is not time for all the materials, which ones will be most effective for these participants?
Section Four: Your Five-Step Presentation for Survival
Follow these steps for a high-impact meeting that will keep participants involved and reinforce essential safety information:
Section Five: Suggested Simulations
Practice is essential to first responders’ survival, and the successful resolution of emergency situations. There is often little time to think, and proper habits can save lives.
The use of tabletop models provides opportunity for small-group collaborations and for simulating multiple scenarios. This approach can be adapted to various room conditions and time constraints. Use of toy figures and scale models allows simulations to be easily reset for repetition. Possible scenarios include the following:
Role-play simulations are ideal for practicing first-aid techniques and detailed physical actions.
Practice proper jump-and-shuffle technique for exiting energized equipment. Jump clear of the vehicle or equipment with your feet together. Do not touch the equipment and the ground at the same time, or you will become electricity’s path to the ground and could be killed. Land with your feet together and shuffle away. Do not run or take long steps; if your legs bridge two areas of the ground with different voltage, electricity could travel up one leg and down the other. (This is because electricity spreads out in the ground with decreasing voltage from the point of contact.)
Place signs around the room that read “electric meter,” “downed wires,” and “overhead lines” and have participants enter the room. Time how long it takes them to locate the infrastructure and respond appropriately.
Practice responding to a vehicle/pole incident where downed power lines are known or suspected. Emphasize that participants should not contact the vehicle or the power line.
Remember that simulations are intended to reinforce proper behavior—not to call out or embarrass participants. Maintain a cooperative, supportive atmosphere at all times, and encourage participants to ask questions and provide feedback about how simulations might be most effective.
First Responder Beware® Electrical Safety Pre/Post-Test
The quiz is intended to help instructors and participants gauge the program’s effectiveness. By administering it before beginning the presentation and then at the end of the session, presenters and participants alike can observe learning in action. Print out as many as needed for both the pre/post-test sets.
Electrical Safety Quiz Answers
Click below for test.
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