A Timeless Message of Safety

Published by Bob Hance on Wednesday, September 9, 2020 in Community

Safety education continues to be an important part of our mission and culture. I would love to lean into my own creativity to share hypothetical scenarios of the very real dangers of electricity to create awareness; unfortunately, reality crept in yet again this summer and provided us an all-too-real example.

On a warm and sunny July afternoon, two brothers were moving a boat across their yard when the 30- foot mast contacted our primary line. The younger brother immediately clamped onto the boat as the current coursed through his body, and the older brother fell victim to the same fate as he attempted to pull his sibling away.

Fortunately for these two young men, family members with medical training were nearby and safely pulled them away from the boat and began resuscitation efforts. Both were breathing on their own by the time the emergency response team arrived and as of this writing are still recovering in a nearby level one burn center.

Beware and be aware.

It’s a message we’ve shared countless times over the years to remind people how to stay safe around electricity. Unfortunately, tragic events like this continue to impact families and make headlines.

Electricity provides so much value for everyday life and living, from brewing our morning coffee to cooling our homes on these hot summer days to powering the many devices that keep us informed, entertained and educated. We don’t even stop to think about it; it’s just always there doing its thing in the background fabric of our lives.

On the other side of the value and convenience, however, lurks an insidious danger. One that can change the course of a life in a split second.

We’re so familiar with the vast canvas of our own yards and communities that we don’t pay attention to the power lines that criss-cross that space. We have over 4,000 miles of electric distribution across our electric service territory, all of which provides for our comfort and convenience while also presenting a very real danger for anyone who is not paying attention.

This message is for the farmer working in the fields this month, for the homeowner clearing leaves out of the gutters from atop an extension ladder, for the child climbing a tree to retrieve a kite, for the construction crews moving equipment. This message is for everyone because we’re all exposed every day to the very real danger of electricity.

The message is still the same: beware and be aware. Beware of the danger behind the commodity that drives much of what we do and how we live and work, day in and day out. And be aware of your surroundings whenever you’re working outside. The electric infrastructure – poles and wires and transformers - is so much a part of our landscape that we don’t even see it, and it takes only a split second for that infrastructure to forever impact a life and a family.

About The Author

Bob Hance

Bob Hance is the President/CEO of Midwest Energy & Communications, and a 45-year veteran of the electric cooperative industry. Within the industry he has earned a reputation as a leader and a trailblazer, and has been nationally recognized for his efforts to bridge the digital divide as a tir

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