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Unease From Fire Service Over Potential Shocks From Solar Panels

When attending an incident, quite rightly, fire fighters need to consider all eventualities and they carry out a thorough assessment of potential risks and hazards at the scene.

Fire fighters are being asked to be vigilant when attending incidents where solar panels are located
(image credit: 28704869)

It has come to light that senior management at Devon and Somerset fire service have instructed their fire fighters to be vigilant when it comes to attending the scene of the likes of a fire where there are solar panels on site as the panels could still be live even though they may have been isolated. This could result in fire fighters receiving electric shocks unless they are particularly careful.

Another concern was that solar panels that tend to be located on the roofs of both residential and commercial buildings could fall on fire fighters whilst attending and working at the scene of an incident.

A few days ago the local fire service were called to a large fire at the Teign Valley Golf Club and Hotel at which there were thirty fire fighters present. Apparently, as there was a live electricity supply generated by the solar panels, the fire fighters were unable to gain access to the building.

The incident commander is responsible for making a thorough risk assessment at every incident the fire service attend to make sure that everything is taken into account to make sure that the incident is resolved in a safe manner.

Martin Cotterell from the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) made it clear that they are working closely with fire services in respect of possible hazards involving the likes of solar panels acknowledging that there were challenges when panels were present at fires. He did point out that tests had been carried out in Germany and America that involved panels being sprayed with water and there were no safety issues. Obviously each incident needs to be treated differently.

We will keep you updated if there are any further developments.

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