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“A Life Cut Short”
Trees & Power Lines
Tiffany Pagel and her sister Holly were climbing a tree near their home when the unimaginable happened. A power line was running through the tree the girls were climbing and 9-year-old Tiffany reached up and grabbed a hold of a power line. Holly recounts that day in the tree: “I was sitting on the same tree limb that she was sitting on. Both of her hands were clamped onto it and I was kind of facing towards her… I just remember her shaking a lot (and her) eyes rolling in the back of her head.” Holly also recalls looking down to see something no one should have to witness: smoke coming from her sister’s legs. The Pagel family lost Tiffany that day, but wanted to help ensure no other family would have to go through what they did. The family opens up to Safe Electricity in this emotional video about that day in hopes of educating others about the dangers of trees and power lines.
“Zone in on Safety”
Distracted Driving and Utility Worker Safety
There’s not one text, phone call or any other driver distraction that’s worth your life or the life of anyone else, yet it’s an increasing problem. The resulting accidents are devastating to everyone connected to those killed or injured. There is a roadside work zone crash every few minutes in this country, and electric utility workers have been killed and injured in such incidents. Laws in most states require motorists to change lanes and slow down when someone is on the side of the road, with tougher penalties for those who disobey. Hear from law enforcement and utility safety leaders, as well as a line crew affected by distracted driving.
“Safe on the Bus”
Vehicles and Downed Lines
On an April morning in 2016, Clint Shults was driving a school bus to take students to an FFA competition. Heavy, wet snow had been accumulating, and the bus snagged a power line just as it was falling to the ground under the weight of the snow. “We started dragging power lines for the next at least 100 yards, and knew we were in pretty tough shape,” Clint says.Fortunately, Clint, dispatch, and first responders knew the right steps to take to keep everyone safe.
“Recognize, Respect, Report”
Outdoor Electrical Box Safety
When Aaron and Brett Studer were young boys, they got into an electrical service box in their yard, and Aaron suffered second and third degree burns to his face. Fortunately there were no permanent scars. They want to help others stay safe. Recognize that these boxes contain electrical equipment. Respect the equipment and the boxes. Do not open, tamper with, or obstruct access to them. If there is any damage, such as a hole or broken lock, immediately report it to your utility.
“Caught in a Storm”
On a hot, summer day Stephen Wald, his two boys and their friend found themselves caught in a terrifying thunderstorm. They ended up only seconds away from being in an accident with an overhead power line brought down by the storm. They encourage you to check weather forecasts so you can plan to stay inside when a storm threatens, seek safe shelter in an enclosed building or vehicle if caught in a storm, and to stay far away from any downed power lines.
Electric Shock Drowning (ESD)
The Ritz family was stunned when their son Lucas was killed while swimming with his life jacket on and being closely supervised by his mother. The danger could not be seen but was silently lurking in the water. Electricity was leaking into the water from a boat plugged in to shore power. Unfortunately, people are killed each year by what’s now known as electric shock drowning (ESD). The Ritz family wants others to learn how to avoid ESD and stay safe.
“Safety on the Line”
Overhead Power Line Safety
Gary Norland had worked as an equipment operator, lineman, foreman, and superintendent, when he started work at a local mill that produced its own electricity. One Friday afternoon, storms had gone through, and his crew was investigating outages. However, Gary and his co-workers were more focused on plans for the weekend than the job at hand. Gary leaned back and came into contact with 12,500 volts of electricity. He urges people to take the time to be safe both on the job and at home.
Underground Lines and Digging Safety
A small job had been added to the day’s directional boring work—after Tom Dickey’s safety gear had already been sent back to the shop. He made a decision in favor of time and efficiency instead of safety to go ahead and dig a 40-foot section of conduit. This decision almost cost him his life. As an experienced professional he knew all of the correct procedures, but while adjusting the conduit’s path in the ground, he made a small slip and received a high-voltage shock.
“Jim Flach’s Story”
Large Equipment and Power Line Safety
Jim Flach was a respected farmer, 4-H leader, and champion livestock showman who readily shared his knowledge with others. Tragically, a farm accident involving electricity claimed his life. His widow Marilyn and their three sons talk about the accident in which the crop sprayer Jim was operating came into contact with overhead lines. The video reminds large equipment operators to be aware of the presence of electric lines and provides advice on what to do if ever involved in a similar situation.
“Lee and Ashley’s Story of Survival”
Auto Accidents Involving Downed Power Lines
Each year, accidents in which motorists hit power poles have the potential to bring live power lines to the ground. Tragically, many drivers and passengers who survive the impact are electrocuted when they attempt to leave the vehicle. Helping drivers understand the right actions to take can save their lives. This video features the story of two teenagers who were in a car accident involving downed power lines. Because they had recently learned the right steps to take, they survived.
“Shawn Miller’s Story”
Overhead Power Line Safety
Shawn Miller was hanging Christmas lights at his mother’s house like he did every year, when tragedy stuck. As he was throwing a string of lights into a tree, it made contact with a power line. Shawn suffered 27 exit wounds, the loss of one hand, and a finger on another—but miraculously, he survived. Shawn and Safe Electricity urge people to spend time making themselves aware of their surroundings before working with or around items that use electricity, indoors and out.
“Caitlyn MacKenzie’s Story”
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)
Caitlyn MacKenzie had many dreams and a bright future. That future was shattered when she was tragically killed, electrocuted by contact with ordinary household electric current. She was only 12 years old. Her parents speak out in this video about the importance of electrical safety—particularly in making people aware of the importance of using ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). Safe Electricity encourages the use of GFCIs outdoors around the home and inside the home near sinks and wet areas.
Live Line Demonstration
Live Power Line Safety Demonstration
Thank you to safety expert Steve Hancock and Corn Belt Energy for their commitment to consumer safety and allowing our web visitors to learn from this compelling program. Those interested in using the Live Line Demo program, please call 800-879-0339 x231 or email email@example.com.