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Arcing Power lines at 26th and Iowa


There was a call tonight at 26th and Iowa regarding "arcing power lines". We have all heard of these, but I wondered about them. What are they? What causes these? What do you do if you see one? Well, I'm going to tell you:

The weather often wreaks havoc on our nation's power grid. From tornadoes to hurricanes to winter storms, the elevated power system is particularly vulnerable to damage from any number of weather-related forces. When damage to power lines occurs, intense arcing and power outages usually result. The highly visible, bright arcing from a damaged power line is often referred to as a 'power flash'. Power flashes can light up the nighttime sky, and as a result sometimes look like lightning.

These arcs can easily ignite trees, blow transformers and cause serious bodily injury and/or death. The best thing you can do if you even suspect an arcing power line is to stay away and call 911. Do NOT try to remove debris, vehicles or anything else from the area, as this will be putting yourself in imminent danger.

When the winds are high, I hear a lot of these calls over the scanner. Fire and EMS quickly respond, gain control of any fires caused by the arc and secure the scene. Westar is then called out to service the equipment. These calls often result in power outages, and some may last several hours. If this event is occurring in your area, stay away, and keep your dogs indoors. Not only are your pets as vulnerable as humans, but they may put EMS or Westar workers at risk as well.

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