A hot stick is a tool (or probe) that first responders have used for years to prevent on-scene electrical injuries. It detects the presence of Alternating Current (AC) voltage in a wire or conductive material. A typical AC hot stick doesn’t work, however, for Direct Current (DC) voltage due to significant differences in the physics involved.
A new tool for DC voltage hazards
DC voltage is now found in a growing number of today’s technologies that first responders encounter, such as:
- Solar photovoltaic system installations.
- Electric vehicles.
- Fuel cells, power storage arrays and super capacitors.
- Mass transit applications.
These hazards require new tools to keep first responders safe from electrical exposures. That’s why the USFA is working with Oak Ridge National Laboratories to develop a better DC hot stick technology. DC detectors exist today but are so bulky and unreliable that they are unsuitable for field use.
A patent for the prototype has been licensed and product testing is underway. We anticipate that a new product will be announced to the market soon.