How many departments get called out to "babysit" lines down until the power company gets on scene? If you do it, do you wait till the power company releases you or do you head out once they are on scene?
Most of the time the power company will let us know if they need us to stay or if they don't need us anymore. I was just wondering how other depts. handle the situation. We usually set up a peremiter around the area and don't let anyone near it. I have always been trained to treat every line as if it were a live line. As for 3 in the morning, well that's my bed time ;-)
I used to be a lineman for a local electric co-op and I'll tell you from experience that any trained personnel is very much welcomed. What a lot of people don't know is that a primary line can jump its length if it happens to ground out on something while lying on the ground. There for if a span of primary is down from a riser pole and it's 300 feet to the next riser that line is capable of jumping 300 feet. As for the secondary line, the one that runs from a house,business or anything that's metered, respect it the same. Never assume a downed line is dead. Our saying was "If it's not grounded, it's not dead". I'm sure if you'll ask one of the lineman that you are assisting on a downed line that they would probably me more than happy to show you some things of safety interest that you may have. I could tell you some nasty stories related to downed lines but that's not what you asked. I would also like to think that your chief or safety officer could arrange a power line safety class through your local power company.
We get called out on wires down calls regularly. How long we sit on it depends on the situation. Upon arrival, officer will attempt to determine type of wire down (electric, cable, phone, and actually broken, or just hanging lower than it's supposed to, especially across roadways) and threat. If it's down and arcing, we secure the area around to prevent civilians from getting too close and wait for the power company. If it's cable or phone, the officer may decide to just have appropriate agency notified, and go on our merry way, or let the police sit on it. We do have one officer who likes to move broken wires, that he determines to be cable or phone, off to the side (off the roadway or sidewalk) to reopen the roadways. I usually let him touch them first....
We basically do the same thing as DT here. We will go out and babysit the line until the power company shows up and wait until they release us. We do get called for cable TV lines down and if that is the case, we get the cable out of the way, notify dispatch and leave the scene.
When I was a volly we had a ton of such calls, we did the same thing, but always talked about making a power lines down kit, consisting of a cooler and lawn chairs.
Our primary job is life safety. When called to downed lines, we are able to be there before it is an emergency. Our department supports the power company and they support and respect us. We stick around until it is safe for us to leave. There may a one guy in bucket truck for the power company, and he may need "support" before his backup arrives. Again, not trying to be lineman, but putting safety first, warning the public, providing scene lighting, and generally being a good neighbor. Of course if an fire or accident with injuries were to happen, we would then have to prioritize the situation, and respond accordingly. PS: We consider all lines, including cablevision, telephone, and fiber to be energized unless, the power company tells us they are grounded out.
We stay as long as we are needed. If there is fire or traffic danger, we are there longer. We put everyone's safety first and are willing to stay until the situation is stabilized and we are no longer needed. This call comes from an officer that is in communication with the power company.
Once we determine the downed lines are not presenting an immediate hazard(live fire, arcing, etc...) we request Police to babysit the lines until the utility company arrives. They will usually request Police Auxillary to respond and remain on scene. So, I am usually never there for the interface with the utility companies.
Sure, we get called out to "lines down/arcing", poles on fire, etc. Your right, most of the time if the power lines are just down and not sparking or on fire, there isn't much to do except block the roadway. Fortunatly the local PD doesnt see too much action and we can usually convince them to bring out a couple extra squad cars and they will block the road until the power company can get there.
Either an engine or a light force. We sit there till DWP (dept. of water and power) shows up and clears us to go. If it takes up more space than a fire truck can handle, then LAPD comes in with 1 traffic unit and Parking enforcement also comes in with 2 units. That how we do it out here in Los Angeles City.