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Illinois Country Living

Safety & Health:

Ken Macken

Molly Hall, Director, Safe Electricity

Give your loved ones some TLC
Safe Electricity says it’s time to teach, learn and care

Compelling stories told by people personally touched by electricity-related tragedies are just a mouse click away. And you don’t have to travel far to see a live power line demonstration. Just log on to and click on the Live Line Demo link. The 30 minute video-streamed program and other video productions are among thousands of resources available on the website dedicated to educating people about electrical safety.

Accidents and fires involving electricity result in more than a thousand deaths and tens of thousands of injuries each year. Prevention of electricity-related tragedies is the goal of Safe Electricity.

As part of the Teach Learn Care TLC Campaign, we’ve added several new features to help more people understand the importance of knowing how to stay safe around electricity. Among them are gripping video stories streamed for viewing directly from the home page.

The story of accident survivors Ashley Taylor and Lee Whittaker is this year’s Teach Learn Care TLC feature. Taylor and Whittaker describe surviving a car accident involved downed power lines after the Ford Bronco they were riding in collided with a utility pole last winter.

Also available is the story of Caitlyn MacKenzie, a 12-year old girl who was killed in an electrical accident in 2007. Her story, shared by her family, was the focus of the 2008 Teach Learn Care TLC campaign and can also be viewed from the home page. Shawn Miller’s story, featured for the 2009 TLC campaign, is also available. Miller suffered 27 exit wounds, the loss of one hand, and a finger on the other after he came in contact with power lines while decorating his mother’s yard for Christmas.

The Web site is a virtual library, an easy-to-use resource for children and adults, teachers, farmers, contractors and businesses, public safety officials, Hispanic consumers and more. The site is continually updated and provides thousands of pages of content, including enhanced offerings for educators and children.

The Electrical Safety World and Electric Universe are content and graphic-rich sections targeted to children and teachers, with a wealth of fun and interactive games, activities and exercises, teacher lesson plans and classroom experiments. The educator content meets National Science Education standards and compliments the many other youth resources on the site. Material is appropriate for grade school children through high school and beyond.

“Kids surfing from home will find plenty to enjoy online, and they are excellent educational tools for teachers and schools,” said Jay Solomon, University of Illinois Extension Educator. “They also make wonderful additions to after-school and summer day camp programs.”

Kids young and old can get an electrifying education from the dramatic 30-minute live power line demonstration by a former utility lineman. The program demonstrates everyday situations, including live contact with 7,200 volts. Those who see it will come away with a lot more knowledge and healthy respect for electricity. They’ll understand, for example, how a Mylar balloon on the end of a string can become an electrical danger to the child or person holding onto it — or why such a balloon floating into an electrical substation can knock out power to thousands of people with just one contact. Many more issues and circumstances are covered in the program.

In its commitment and increased efforts to reach Hispanic audiences, Safe Electricity has a Spanish section. Many elements of the Safe Electricity program materials, such as seasonal articles, news releases, radio and television public service announcements, have been translated into Spanish. The Spanish Web site section compiles all available Spanish electrical safety educational materials into one convenient online resource.

Safe Electricity salutes its many electric utility and educational partners from throughout the nation who voluntarily support the massive safety outreach effort. The program was launched during National Electrical Safety Month in May 2001 as a joint safety effort of nearly three dozen organizations, including electric utilities, electric cooperatives, and the University of Illinois. Program partners today number almost 400, underscoring a collective commitment within the electric industry and educator community to promote consumer safety.

We know information and awareness create life-saving attitudes and actions and that’s what Safe Electricity is all about.

For more electrical safety information, or information about the Safe Electricity program, visit


Molly Hall is the Director of Safe Electricity. E-mail: Safe Electricity is a public awareness program of the Energy Education Council


© 2016 Illinois Country Living Magazine.
Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives

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