As a measure to enhance public safety, Aldermen on July 9 approved a contract for $53,575 with Lewellyn Technology of Indianapolis for a Citywide arc-flash program. An arc-flash is light and heat produced by electrical explosion or discharge. A memo from City Engineer and Capital Planning Bureau Chief Lara Biggs and Project Manager Anil Khatkhate said the required safety measures around electrical systems include arc flash studies, infrared thermographic scanning, proper labeling and training for employees.

According to the memo, an arc-flash study evaluates all major electrical equipment to determine levels of potential hazard and indicates labeling accordingly, so workers will know what protective equipment is needed. The infrared thermographic scanning is used to determine if there are any localized hot spots within any of the pieces of electrical equipment. These hot spots are the points of likeliest failure and are used to determine which equipment is in need of repair or replacement. Infrared scanning is often completed as part of an arc-flash study to verify equipment is working properly prior to completing the safety labeling.

FM Global, the City’s insurance provider, recommended that arc-flash studies be performed for all buildings with 480V, 3-phase electrical power supplies. This has been done only at the water treatment plant and the two standpipes. The Citywide program is scheduled to be completed by Oct. 31.

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...