First Responder Safety

As a first responder, safety is your way of life. Police, Firefighters and EMTs are usually the first to respond on the scene of an emergency and can face great risk of electrical hazards. PNM works closely with first responders in the communities that we  serve, and often we find ourselves working side by side on locations during outages, storms, and other scenarios. 

Safety is top priority at PNM, and we want to make sure first responders know how to recognize and react to certain situations to avoid life threatening circumstances for yourself and the people in our community.

Please call PNM at 888-DIAL-PNM to report electrical hazards or request for power lines and equipment to be de-energized. Do not assume that we have already been notified.

PNM values our relationship with the first responders in our community and we believe strongly in staying safe and providing valuable education on the dangers of electricity. Thank you for all you do and for working with us on keeping everyone safe. 

Downed power lines

If you respond to a scene where there are damaged power poles or downed power lines:

  • Call PNM immediately at 888-DIAL-PNM (888-342-5766) and give an accurate location with pole or equipment number, if available. 
  • Keep the public clear of the area. If possible, secure the area around a damaged pole or downed power line 100 feet in all directions.
  • If a downed power line or equipment is touching other potentially conductive objects (fence, shed, automobile, etc.) consider them to be energized as well.
  • Do not attempt to move any downed power lines or remove any meters. Wait for utility personnel to safely correct the situation.
  • Do not spray water or foam sprays on wires or energized electrical equipment, even if there is a fire. Wait for PNM to arrive and safely de-energize the circuit or meter. 
  • Gloves, footwear, clothing and equipment will not eliminate your risk of electric shock and injury, if they are not rated for this specific purpose.
  • Power lines that have not been de-energized by PNM crews can become re-energized at any time, automatically and/or by remote control.

Scenes with a vehicle in contact with downed lines or electrical equipment

  • Do not approach or touch the vehicle or piece of equipment if downed wires or electrical equipment are in contact with it. Consider the downed wires or equipment and the vehicle or equipment as energized.
  • Visually check the occupant(s) from a safe distance and have them remain in the vehicle or on the equipment unless it is a life-threatening situation.

Responding to substation or other facility/equipment emergencies

  • There are many hazards associated with substations and other equipment such as transformers; including the danger of arcing, fire and explosions. Never enter a substation unless escorted by a PNM employee.
  • Contact PNM by calling 888-DIAL-PNM, provide an accurate location and nature of emergency.  Our dispatch operator will send the proper personnel to address the situation.   
  • Never spray water on electrical fires until a PNM employee has informed you that the equipment is de-energized.
  • Secure the area, keeping the public and other first responders as far back as practical. There may be a possibility of electrical explosion causing flying debris and other hazards.
  • Never enter a vault or manhole containing electrical circuits or equipment until the utility company confirms the space has been de-energized.
  • Do not remove a building’s electric meter. Removing the meter can result in an electrical flash or explosion with the possibility of injury.
  • Do not cut or remove the service lines. Wait for the PNM to arrive and safely de-energize the equipment for you.
  • Heavy smoke can conduct electricity.

If the structure is equipped with a solar photovoltaic (PV) system

  • If it is daylight, the PV panels will continue to convert sunlight to electricity. The solar industry recommends applying opaque tarps over all PV panels to reduce or limit exposure to solar electrical issues. 
  • Open the Customer Generation Disconnect Switch to isolate the PV system and prevent back-feed into the building’s service entrance section. You may also see a red placard that states “Utility Safety Disconnect, Use to Isolate From Customer Generation”. 
  • Remember, the PV system will continue to be energized unless the sun is prevented from reaching the PV panels themselves. Associated PV system wiring, inverter, sub-meters, etc. will remain energized.

In the event that a hot air balloon comes in contact with a power pole, power line, or other electrical equipment
 

Police departments

If an accident does happen, our police departments can help by:

  • Calling PNM at 888-DIAL-PNM.
  • Securing the scene.
  • Keeping onlookers and balloonists calm and away from any downed lines.
  • Providing PNM as much detail as possible of the crash site and the situation. 
    • What are the landmarks?
    • Cross streets?
    • Is it in someone’s backyard? 

Fire departments

If an accident does happen, our fire departments can help by:

  • Calling PNM at 888-DIAL-PNM.
  • Stay clear of any downed power lines or lines that have broken ends, and keep onlookers away from the scene. 
  • Do not spray water on the power lines. This could create a very dangerous situation. 

Annual Balloon Safety Demo for First Responders

PNM hosts an annual Balloon/Power Line Safety Demo right before Balloon Fiesta each year, to cover how PNM responds in this type of situation, and discuss how fire and police departments can work safely with PNM to assist in this scenario. Keep an eye out for more information on the date, time and location for the 2018 Balloon Safety Demo.