New Yorkers’ eyes were drawn upward as an electrical explosion at a Con Edison plant bathed the sky in fluorescent blue on December 27, 2018. Although many joked on Twitter about alien invasions and the end of times, the eerie event that temporarily closed LaGuardia Airport actually involved an electrical transformer at the energy provider’s substation in Astoria, Queens.
“All power lines serving the area are in service and the system is stable,” Con Edison said in a statement on Twitter.
According to the New York Police Department, the event was deemed “non-suspicious,” and there were no injuries and “no evidence of extraterrestrial activity.” The brief electrical fire caused a transmission dip, and Con Ed is now evaluating outages in the area.
The event at the plant – including the sci-fi-looking blue light – might be unique to the structural details of an electrical plant, but the cause it not. Commercial buildings are prone to electrical fires, and keeping your fire detection system’s maintenance schedule up to date is vital for occupant safety and avoiding a potential legal nightmare.
In our cover story from September 2018, “Ways Your Fire Safety System Could Be Falling Short,” we break down what you need to be aware of and think about to keep everyone safe.
You should be prepared for any event at your facility that could cause panic. Develop a preparedness program to help identify ways to protect facilities, physical assets and electronic information during a disaster. And make sure there is a communications plan to keep in contact with occupants and employees during and after the incident. More disaster preparedness tips can be found in our article “Would Your Disaster Plan Hold Up?”
Fortunately, the incident in Queens resulted in no injuries – but it did cause airport delays, power outages and plenty of speculation. It’s a reminder to make sure you and your facility are prepared for nothing less than the worst.
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