A Firefighter Safety Switch, also known as a Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Firefighter Disconnect or Rapid Shutdown System, is used in solar panel installations, typically on residential or commercial buildings. The purpose of the switch is to allow firefighters and other emergency responders to quickly and safely disconnect the solar panels from the building’s electrical system during an emergency, such as a fire.

By using the Firefighter Safety Switch, responders can isolate the solar panels from the rest of the building’s electrical system, reducing the risk of electric shock and allowing them to perform their duties without the danger of live electrical circuits. The switch is typically located on or near the building’s main electrical service panel or close to the solar PV system components, ensuring easy access for emergency personnel.

Firefighter Safety Switches, also known as Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Firefighter Disconnects or Rapid Shutdown Systems, are designed to quickly and safely disconnect solar panels from a building’s electrical system during emergencies, such as fires. They work by interrupting the flow of electricity between the solar panels and the rest of the electrical system, reducing the risk of electric shock for emergency personnel.

Firefighter Safety Switch

Here’s a general overview of how Firefighter Safety Switches work:

Location: The switch is typically installed near the building’s main electrical service panel or close to the solar PV system components, ensuring easy access for emergency personnel.

Activation: In an emergency, firefighters or other responders can activate the safety switch either manually, by flipping a switch or pressing a button, or remotely, using wireless communication or another control mechanism.

Rapid shutdown: Once activated, the safety switch initiates a rapid shutdown process. This involves breaking the electrical connection between the solar panels and the building’s electrical system, including the inverter and the main electrical panel.

Reduced voltage: The rapid shutdown system reduces the voltage of the solar panels to a safe level, typically below 30 volts within 30 seconds, as per the requirements of the National Electrical Code (NEC) in the United States. This voltage reduction minimizes the risk of electric shock for emergency personnel.

Rapid shutdown

Isolation: With the solar panels isolated from the rest of the electrical system, firefighters can safely perform their duties, such as extinguishing fires or rescuing occupants, without the danger of live electrical circuits.

Restoration: Once the emergency situation is resolved, the rapid shutdown system can be deactivated, allowing the solar panels to resume normal operation and reconnect with the building’s electrical system.

Firefighter Safety Switches provide an essential safety measure for buildings with solar panel installations, ensuring that emergency personnel can operate in a safer environment during critical situations.