Why should you never approach a downed powerline? What are behaviors to avoid around electrical structures like pad mount transformers? What should you do if you are in a car that hits a power pole?

These are some of the questions that Breanna McClarty and Michel Deveau answer in their safety presentations in local schools. Michel and Breanna are both Journeyman Powerline Technicians employed by Battle River Power Coop, and they bring first-hand knowledge about electrical safety into the schools. Breanna says, “Michel and I have been lucky to do multiple presentations at most of the local elementary schools. It is a pleasure to be able to teach the grade 5 students about our company, electricity and safety. We enjoy seeing the kids get excited by what we do. They always have great questions and are very engaged in the presentations. I think their favorite part is the Hazard Hamlet, an energized town filled with unsafe actions. There, they can see how dangerous electricity in everyday life can be if you are not aware of your surroundings.”

Students learn how to live safely alongside electricity from people who work in the electricity industry. They learn why electricity will travel down a wet tree or kite string and why it is important to obey all signs that say High Voltage, Stay Out.

Breanna and Michel always bring an assortment of interesting gear and students can test the weight of a Powerline Technician’s belt, complete with tools that he will carry when climbing a power pole. They are encouraged to put a cap on a pen while wearing arc rated gloves, a simulation of the manipulations common in a Powerline Technician’s workday.

Ask any student who has attended one of the school presentations what you should do if you are in a car crash with a power pole. They will tell you, correctly, to stay in the vehicle and call 911.

Battle River Power Coop’s school safety presentation is intended to supplement the portion of the grade 5 curriculum that deals with electricity and is available to schools with rural students in our service area. To schedule a presentation for your school, teachers are invited to call 1.877.428.3972.