Written by Owen W. Magee Friday, 02 September 2011 00:00
Hicksville volunteer firefighters responded to over 40 storm-related calls for assistance during Hurricane Irene as numerous trees took down utility poles and wires.
Depending on location and amount of damage, officials estimated it would take a week after the initial outages were reported for power to be fully restored.
LIPA and out of state crews, working day and night, must determine power is fully turned off in order to begin removing trees. After damage is cleared, new poles can be erected. Residents are advised to avoid touching or stepping on any wires as well as metal fences, which could be energized by fallen wires. Assume all wires are “hot” and notify LIPA for hazardous areas or call 911 for emergency conditions.
A majority of fire department incidents involved power lines down and burning, shorted transformers and trees leaning on homes. There were also a number of alarms for automatic fire alarms tripped due to power surges and carbon monoxide detector activations (a common problem for firefighters because of improper maintenance, e.g. battery replacement). Hicksville Fire Department Chief Edward Korona, Jr. requested his volunteers to standby in all four fire stations after attending to their families.
Two serious car crashes were reported and suspected due to traffic signal outages on Sunday evening. A three-car crash at Old Country Road and Newbridge Road resulted in several injuries, one being a serious trauma injury. Twenty minutes later, a two-car crash occurred at Old Country Road and Jerusalem Avenue. A trauma injury was reported as well and the Jaws of Life were required to evacuate passengers from their vehicle. Nassau County Police, Hicksville and Jericho Fire Departments handled both incidents. Unsafe speed approaching the intersections was thought to be the cause in both incidents.
The U.S. Fire Administration has released an advisory regarding the use of portable generators as well. An improperly connected generator connected to your home wiring system without a functional transfer switch is a safety hazard. Without a transfer switch, backfeeding can occur. The power from the generator can be sent back into the area power grid and energize wires thought to be dead. An electrocution hazard is created for your neighbors and utility workers in the area. Seek professional help connecting a generator directly to your home’s wiring system.