EmPowering Firefighters with Solar Safety
Feb 14, 2014
by EmPower Solar
On a snowy Sunday evening more than 50 men and women from multiple Nassau County fire departments gathered in Mineola for an EmPower Solar fire safety presentation.
Patrick Clark, who joined the EmPower team in 2013, recognized the growing need for fire safety education. As an 11-year volunteer in a south shore fire department he knew the information he possessed could be invaluable, so he took on this safety initiative.
“Solar is a growing energy source. It’s a great way for Long Islanders to drastically reduce their electric bills. It’s an exciting time in this industry,” said Patrick, “but it can also present dangerous situations for firefighters who are unfamiliar with the technology.”
With a desire to keep his fellow volunteers safe, Patrick began presenting to local departments. The word spread quickly and he now shares his knowledge and experience with large groups each month.
Here are some of his the top takeaways:
- Hot sticks will not detect DC voltage, which means it can’t detect solar
- Flood lights can charge panels during nighttime operations
- Daytime = danger; consider panels energized
- Night = less danger; if battery-backup is present it will provide electricity to the house at night
- If the fire occurs at night, send someone back in the morning to ensure panels are non-operational; check for associated fire hazards
- Do not walk on, break, or remove panels. This could cause a short, more fire
- Commercial solar installation are usually not visible from the ground. When possible, know which community buildings have solar and adjust fire tactics accordingly
“This information is definitely a resource for other departments,” said Brian Santosus, 2nd Assist Chief of the Mineola Fire Department. He added that “solar is a new concept” and Patrick was able to address safety concerns that were not previously on his radar.
“It didn’t take a lot of time (45 minutes),” added Ex-Chief Scott Strauss, who is the current Mayor of Mineola, “but it means a lot.” He also said he’d like to see more uniform solar-fire safety regulations and a list of each solar installs in the area provided to departments to ensure a safe environment.
EmPower Solar is proud to support this endeavor and we encourage all departments to get informed and stay safe.
Are you interested in scheduling an EmPower Solar fire safety presentation? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*EmPower Solar would like to thank LISEIA for spearheading this initiative from day-one. The Long Island Solar Energy Industries Association is a great solar resource. Click here to visit the website.