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O knowledge of how to do
O knowledge of how to do
responsible utility personnel; enter with
a minimum of personnel, with maximum
supervision, and with a utility worker who
knows the plant and its hazards who will
act as guide. Fire personnel should wear
full personal protective equipment (PPE)
including self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). At an HP steam leak incident
in a generating plant, a Fire Department
of New York (FDN Y) captain and his firefighters were searching for an unaccounted-for employee. Condensed steam was
present, but it was not dangerously hot at
first. It suddenly became untenably hot,
causing serious burns to the captain and
to his crew as they rescued him.
• Establish contact with plant
• Determine the existing problem.
• Find out if all employees are accounted
for and if anyone inside needs to be
• Obtain a knowledgeable guide if you
plan on entry.
• Wear full PPE including SCBA when
• Maintain close supervision of the entry
• Be prepared for verbal communication
difficulties if you are planning to enter.
• Be aware that interior conditions can
• Consider this a hazmat incident because asbestos may be present.
Underground Pipe Rupture
A pipe rupture under the street or
sidewalk is another type of incident you
may encounter. The steam’s pressure
and temperature are less than those
found in the plant. In New York City,
steam escaping from an underground
pipe can be as hot as 350ºF and pressurized to 170 psig. Although it is no longer
officially HP steam, it is high enough to
present a danger, and it will still sound
like a jet engine.
A tow truck driver in New York City
was scalded to death while stopped at a
street light when a steam pipe beneath
him ruptured, releasing scalding steam.
As mentioned, the temperatures and
pressures can vary in different locales.
At another incident, a disabled woman was scalded to death in her bed when
a pipe in the street ruptured, sending
rocks and debris into the air. Her window was broken, allowing the hot steam
condensate to enter her room.
An underground steam pipe rupture
will blow up and out of the ground,
spewing pavement, dirt, rocks, and
( 2) Steam vapor coming up from the ground
or from a manhole comes from a leaking piece
of equipment or storm water runoff that has
overwhelmed the drain and come in contact
with the hot steam pipes. In a water or sewer
main break, a large volume of water escaping
underground can cause a steam main to fail,
creating a very hazardous condition.