The dangers of a potential arc flash or arc blast occurring during a fire make the job of fire fighting that much more hazardous.
Put that situation in an underground vault or manhole, or in a commercial building with 3-phase power, and the dangers increase.
1910.269(e) Enclosed Spaces: Who is Qualified to Enter?
This OSHA standard is covered in e-Hazard’s class 1910.269 Arc Flash Safety for Utilities. The standard states, “The employer shall ensure the use of safe work practices for entry into, and work in, enclosed spaces and for rescue of employees from such spaces.”
Some stations may have plans already established that include emergency response in underground vaults. Even if a vault fire is not considered a common event in your area, a response plan is a good thing to have in place and kept up-to-date.
The NFPA 70E requires industries to regularly update their electrical safety programs. Fire stations should periodically check their electrical response plans as well. If or when a vault fire occurs and there is potential for an arc flash, fire fighters need to know what to do.
Fire Engineering Magazine and Fire Fighter Nation Magazine have published some helpful articles on the subject. You can link to the articles in the following list. (Some articles address incidents involving high voltage electricity.)
e-Hazard Training for First Responders
Does your organization need electrical safety training? e-Hazard offers a class designed specifically for first responders. It provides information on shock and arc flash risks during emergencies. Various emergency scenarios are discussed as well as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) related to electrical safety in emergency situations.