RMU conducts live wire training exercise with fire personnel
‘We appreciate the unique training experience’
ROCHELLE — City of Rochelle departments recently had the opportunity to share expertise between the electric and fire departments through a live wire training exercise conducted by the Rochelle Municipal Utilities electric department staff last week.
“We appreciate the unique training experience that brought working knowledge to our entire department,” Rochelle Firefighter Tyler Carls said.
The RMU electric department recently built a 7,970 volt trailer to demonstrate electric safety to staff, residents and schools. The trailer helps to show the effects of a live wire on a vehicle or even through a mylar balloon, as the crew shared. Fire rescue teams were taught how to safely rescue an accident victim from a vehicle that could be on or near a live wire and how to safely utilize the ladder truck near live wires.
“Our firefighters were completely engaged in the training and asked excellent questions,” City of Rochelle Risk and Safety Coordinator Britt Zick said.
The RMU electric department is part of the automatic response during a fire incident. One of the many benefits of a local utility is the ability to have staff on the scene of a fire or accident within minutes.
“The safest way to pull a meter or disconnect power is to let the professionals do so,” RMU Electric Superintendent Blake Toliver said.
The electric department utilizes specialized safety equipment that is tested daily for its durability. Even a miniscule failure, such as a pinhole in a glove, could be catastrophic for a lineman.
“Each of our teams is trained in self-rescue. If a firefighter is down, firefighters conduct the rescue. The same goes for a lineman,” Fire Chief Dave Sawlsville said.
Nearly 30 people between the Rochelle and Ogle Lee Fire Departments attended the training event. Electric safety will become part of a rotating schedule of training opportunities for the departments.
“Our teams take the initiative to be the best in the business,” City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh said. “I commend our staff’s commitment to their profession and to our community.”