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Smothering Sparks

Enhanced standards of care for companies operating in fire-prone terrain.

Fortnightly Magazine - October 2010

crews. SDG&E also paired fire apparatus and utility crews overnight during red flag fire and wind events to ensure maximum safety for the citizens of San Diego County.

This pilot program blended utility crews and private fire crews all seeking to conduct safe work in a fire-prone ecosystem. Numerous interventions by the on-site resources extinguished several fire starts, and provided emergency medical treatment to employees. SDG&E, its fire coordinators, and the San Diego Fire Chief’s Association demonstrated how this concept will reduce the risk of runaway wildfires and provide on-site emergency medical support without compromising full and complete protection from the professional agencies that provide those services.

Based on the leadership, creativity, precautionary mindset, and insights of this utility company, which works in fire-prone terrain every day, a new standard of care is emerging for installation, construction and maintenance of high-powered, long-distance, and mission-critical infrastructure within the flammable confines of the United States. The prudence that a reasonable person would exercise in the conduct of normal duties has been redefined in such a way that the likelihood of catastrophic and traumatic loss of life and property is reduced substantially.