Poke’mon safety, rural Teachers of the Year and Water safety


Electrical safety warning for Pokémon Go players

CU-PokemonGoSafety-Aug-16Arkansas’ electric co-ops are reminding players of Pokémon Go to stay away from electric substations, power plants and other electric equipment. The new smartphone-based augmented reality game sends players to real world places to “catch” Pokémon.

Pokémon turn up everywhere — from grocery stores to hospitals. But they’re also appearing at electric substations, drawing players into dangerous situations.

Electric utilities cannot control where the Pokémon appear, and players should make sure they catch their Pokémon from a safe distance. Any game or activity that distracts people from the possible dangers around them and potentially brings them in proximity to the co-ops’ electric equipment and lines is a major concern.

Remember these important electrical safety tips if you are playing the game and you try to #CatchEmAll:

  • Never touch electric equipment, including transformers and power lines.
  • Never touch a downed power line. Assume all lines are energized and dangerous.
  • Never climb utility poles.
  • Never enter an electric substation.

Castleberry, Davis named 2016 Arkansas Rural Teachers of the Year


Amy Castleberry


Linda Davis

 Amy Castleberry of Paragould High School and Linda Davis of L.F. Henderson Intermediate School in Ashdown were recently named as the 2016 Arkansas Rural Teachers of the Year. The award is sponsored by the Arkansas Rural Education Association and the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas.

Castleberry of Paragould, who has taught for more than 16 years, is a high school English teacher at the 3,085-student Paragould School District. Davis, a 27-year educator, teaches fourth grade at the 1,411-student Ashdown School District.

The Rural Teacher of the Year Award winners are selected based on the quality and depth of answers to questions in the following categories: professional biography, educational history, professional development, community involvement, teaching philosophy, education issues and the teaching profession. 

Avoid deadly electric shock


Electric current near boat docks can be deadly.

Whether at home or on vacation, boating, fishing and swimming can be fun ways to enjoy the great outdoors. Safe Electricity wants to help you keep this time a safe time and is sharing the message, “If you feel a shock, swim away from the dock,” to help keep people safe from a hidden hazard called electric shock drowning (ESD).

As Molly Hall, executive director of the Energy Education Council and its Safe Electricity program explains, “If electric current is present in fresh water and someone swims into that energized water, the result can be electric shock drowning. If the electrical current is strong enough, the electric shock can cause muscle paralysis, which leaves the affected individual unable to swim to safety. It’s a particularly dangerous hazard because it’s impossible to tell by sight if the water is energized.” Outdated wiring and a lack of proper safety equipment and routine maintenance on docks and boats can cause such situations where electricity “leaks” into the water.

According to the Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association, between 10 and 15 milliamps, which is just 1/50th of the wattage of a 60-watt light bulb, can cause drowning. They also report that many ESD deaths have occurred around private docks and boats plugged into shore power while docked.

Safe Electricity, along with the American Boat and Yacht Council and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers/National Electrical Contractors Association, recommends adhering to these steps in order to enhance water recreation safety and accident prevention:

  1. All electrical installations should be performed by a professional electrical contractor familiar with marine codes and standards, and inspected at least once a year.
  1. Docks should have ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) breakers on the circuits feeding electricity to the dock.
  1. The metal frame of docks should be bonded to connect all metal parts to the alternating current (AC) safety ground at the power source. That will ensure any part of the metal dock that becomes energized because of electrical malfunction will trip the circuit breaker.
  1. Neighboring docks can also present a shock hazard. Make your neighbors aware of the need for safety inspections and maintenance. Marinas should comply with NFPA and NEC codes.

For more electrical safety information, visit SafeElectricity.org.