Above the championship banners hanging proudly in the Avalon School gymnasium, Sparky the Wonder Bug was recently teaching third-, fourth- and fifth-graders several important lessons about electrical safety.

“Water and electricity do not mix. Keep them far, far apart.”

“If you see a downed power line, don’t go near it; don’t touch it and call 911.” 

“Don’t climb trees near power lines and don’t fly kites near power lines. And if you see a power line near a tree, stay away. You could get zapped.” 

The captive audience nodded, clapped and squealed in unison as “A Bug’s Light!” continues to educate and entertain elementary school students about the wonders and dangers of electricity across Southern California Edison’s (SCE) service territory.  

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, each day nearly seven children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for electrical shock or burn injuries caused by tampering with a wall outlet. And in 2007, more than 98,000 children ages 14 and under were treated for burn injuries in hospital emergency rooms.

Since the live theatre production kicked off Sept. 29 as part of SCE’s public safety outreach efforts this year, nearly 23,000 students have seen the performance. Using professional actors from the National Theatre for Children who interact with their audience, youngsters are taught important electrical safety lessons that could potentially save their lives, help them identify dangerous situations both inside and outside the home and know what to do if they’re ever around a downed power line.

Further driving home the electrical safety messages are classroom lessons, activity books and homework assignments students can take home and share with their families. 

Should you climb trees near power lines? “No-o-o-o-o,” yelled the Avalon audience.

What about flying kites near power lines? “No-o-o-o-o,” they continued.

It’s no surprise adults frequently marvel at the instant connection made between the show’s colorful cast of characters and schoolchildren. 

“I was very impressed with the interaction of the students and the way they responded to a subject that could be difficult to grasp,” said Ron Garcia, SCE Local Public Affairs region manager. “I was really amazed at how they focused, interacted and responded appropriately.” 

Angelica Gonzalez, principal at Avalon School, agreed. 

“I thought the kids were so engaged; they knew exactly when to clap,” she said. “It’s informative and it fits with our fourth- and fifth-grade science curriculum. It was a fun way to get an important message across.” 

For more information about electrical safety, visit on.sce.com/staysafe.