Pillar box incident prompts safety reminder

Published: 6 May 2016 5:10pm

Ergon Energy is reminding people to be careful around low voltage pillar boxes, particularly if they have been damaged.

Pillar boxes are the small green boxes on footpaths and nature strips most often used as connection points between sections of underground electricity cables.

Recently a car crashed into one of the boxes in Mackay, ripping the casing from it and leaving the car lying on exposed live cables.

The accident led to a fire which soon spread to the vehicle.

Ergon Customer Delivery Manager Chester Brodie said the situation was very serious.

“We could’ve had a real issue on our hands, especially since no one involved in the accident seemed to realise that the area around the car was still live.”

Ergon Energy advises that the following actions should be taken in the event of a similar incident:

  • Try not to panic, remain calm.
  • Stay in your vehicle and call 000 immediately.
  • If escape is absolutely necessary, jump well clear to avoid contact with the vehicle and ground at the same time.
  • When you jump, ensure you land with your feet together. Do not touch the vehicle, fall forward or backward, or allow your feet to step apart.
  • You must jump with your feet together (or with a very slow shuffle ensuring both feet are in constant contact with the ground) until you are at least 10 metres clear of the vehicle, powerlines or anything else in contact with them.
  • Once clear, do not return to the vehicle for any reason.
  • Remember, never approach a vehicle touching powerlines or electrical equipment to assist in an evacuation and always treat all powerlines as if they are “live”.

By doing this it can stop any live voltage travelling through the ground and through your body.

In the recent incident in Mackay the people involved in the accident were very lucky.

“This situation had the potential to have very serious consequences, the car was fully engulfed by fire and some of the people who were standing nearby were dousing the flames with a garden hose,” Mr Brodie said.

“Add to that fuel and oil and an ignition source, it’s a miracle no one was seriously hurt,” he said.

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