Mitigating the risks
Firefighters are of course trained to deal with electricity and PVs are very visible to the fire service on their arrival. But the key to firefighter safety is “voltage isolation”. Products are available to isolate the panels at roof level, and prevent electricity flowing into the house, and the industry is also developing other types of automatic switches to isolate the panels. In the event of a fire occurring in a solar powered home, information can lessen the risk to firefighters and allow them to do their job without being impeded. Informing local fire and rescue services that a building has a solar power installation will allow them to be ready to deal with the situation in the best way they can when they arrive. This can be done during an emergency call but I believe a call to the fire and rescue service after the installation has been completed is a good idea – just in case. The fire and rescue service is looking at a data capture system to enable a consistent approach to this matter to be achieved.