Electrical Business

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Vancouver mayor’s concern for electrical safety prompted by shocks injuring dogs


February 18, 2011
By Alyssa Dalton

February 18, 2011

Lois E. Jackson, chair of Metro Vancouver and Mayor of Delta, convened with Power Survey Company president Tom Catanese in downtown Vancouver to discuss the dangers of contact voltage and how the city can prevent injuries and death to its residents and pets. They also toured one of the company’s mobile testing trucks and discussed the need for proactive testing to detect electric danger spots before more incidents occur.

Contact voltage is an unintentional connection between a power distribution system and public surfaces, like sidewalks, that can cause deadly shocks. In January, ‘Sierra’, a mastiff, was shocked by faulty underground wiring in Vancouver. This year also marks the seventh anniversary of the death of Jodie Lane, a 30-year-old who media reports say was electrocuted by a junction box while walking her two dogs in New York.

Catanese discussed the widespread lethal voltage hazards uncovered during Power Survey’s brief mobile contact voltage sampling in Vancouver, Delta and surrounding areas. He added: “We work side by side with utilities, municipalities, and utility regulators to enhance public safety and electric infrastructure maintenance.”

Power Survey Company has been retained by Utilities and Municipalities in Ontario and more than 20 US states to find hazardous streetlights, sidewalks, manhole covers and other publicly accessible surfaces and structures that pose a threat to both humans and animals.

“I will be asking Delta’s Chief Administrative Officer to report on our municipality’s preparations with regard to public electrical safety, and I call on other Metro Vancouver Mayors to do the same,” said Jackson. “New technologies can make a real difference, and can turn this rare, but often fatal problem, into something that can be avoided.”

“With all the rain that Vancouver sees per year, we are at a higher risk for electrical accidents–especially if there is salt on the sidewalks or if ponds and runoff penetrate defective electrical equipment,” added Rachel Sentes, the owner of a border collie who was shocked in 2004.