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Brandon Schroeder

brandon schroederMy name is Brandon Schroeder, and I have been an electrician for 19 years. On August 24, 2011, I survived an arc flash explosion that without a doubt should have killed me. It was 3:00PM, late in the day, and we were off in a half-hour. The general contractor asked me to relocate a temporary power feed that was running all of the electricity to the construction site. The task was simple: disconnect the cord, pull the cord though a doorway, and hook it back up. But there were two problems. First, there was no main breaker on the panel, so the only way to shut off the power was to call the utility company. Second, about a week earlier, I let a co-worker borrow my arc flash suit. Early on in my career, no one wore arc flash suits, and until about five years before the accident, I had never seen one. But I had done way more dangerous tasks than this countless times – why couldn’t I do this? I had a decision to make, and I make the wrong one.

Small decisions like mine, that can change your life and your family’s life even though you don’t realize it, happen every day on the jobsite. In order to help you avoid the mistake I made, I will share my thought processes, show you pictures of exactly what went wrong, and tell you about my recovery. Whether you work with electricity or not, this presentation will benefit you. Everyone has decisions to make about safety, and many of them happen in an instant. If you have the wrong safety habits, you make it much easier to make the wrong decision, which can have effects that are impossible to undo.