When Cathy Lacher, a teacher in the Chino Valley School District, was preparing to take her first-graders on a field trip recently, she decided to have her kids learn about electrical safety, especially around water.
“We have earthquake and fire drills, why not electrical safety drills,” she said. “The children need to know how to respond when encountered with this type of situation — it’s important and could save lives.”
Working with Southern California Edison (SCE), Lacher invited an outreach specialist to come to her classroom to talk to the kids about staying safe during outdoor activities, especially around water. The message was simple: electricity and water don’t mix.
In addition to the classroom lesson on safety, Lacher noted the importance of her students taking the information home and sharing it with their families.
“Children usually share the information they learn with their parents and other adults,” she said. “Electrical safety awareness could help save the lives of adults who may not have learned about the hazards.”
Since 1990, there have been 60 electrocutions and almost 50 serious electrical shocks involving electrical hazards in and around swimming pools, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the American Red Cross. The safety commission also notes that 70 percent of child-related electrical accidents occur at home, even when adult supervision is present.
Some safety tips around water include never taking electrical devices near a pool and never playing in water activities where electricity is being used. One example would be a water balloon fight near a plugged-in radio. Protective and waterproof covers for electrical equipment should always be used and only removed for maintenance.
SCE offers additional safety tips around electricity for parents and children at sce.e-SMARTonline.net, which includes activities, checklists, videos and games.
“At SCE, we want our customers to have the information they need to stay safe around electricity. We invite you to learn more about safety around electricity by visiting our website at on.sce.com/staysafe, and we hope you will share this information with your family, friends and community members,” said Don Neal, SCE director of Corporate Environmental, Health and Safety.
With the Fourth of July around the corner, Lacher hopes the lessons her students learned from SCE will be used as families enjoy barbecue parties and other activities.
“It’s important for children to know not to touch electrical cords with wet hands or to take a plug-in radio by the pool,” she said.