Blackout at Preschool Turns Scary Moment Into Safety Lesson

An SCE employee uses the situation to spread the word on electrical safety.

April 30, 2015 | By Mary Ann Milbourn and Scott Dreger

A routine day for Iris Hosea picking up her son at preschool turned out to be anything but when she found the facility plunged into darkness by a power outage and the teachers unable to get to the supplies.

“The school interior was pitch black and students were wearing glow sticks around their necks,” said Hosea. “They had a store of emergency supplies — including flashlights — but couldn’t get to them in the darkness.”

Hosea, a Southern California Edison (SCE) project manager, knew immediately what to do. She retrieved a flashlight from her car and helped light the way so the teachers could get to the emergency supplies. But she didn’t stop there.

Hosea realized she had taught her 3½-year-old son, John, about electrical safety, but hadn’t told him what to do when the lights go out. She thought other parents and their children might also benefit from that information. Hosea followed up with a letter to the parents at Holy Trinity Lutheran Preschool in Hacienda Heights to rally their support for some safety training.

“Family awareness about safety is not top of mind,” she said. “Not until something happens do we remind ourselves we need to be prepared.”

Hosea arranged an SCE donation of 20 backpacks and solar flashlights for the teachers. SCE and the American Red Cross also provided 50 document holders for students’ families that included emergency supplies, a brochure about preparing for an electrical outage and an electrical safety coloring book.

She then organized a safety day event at the school to distribute the materials. During the event, Hosea spoke to parents and students about emergency preparedness and gave a presentation with the Hazard Hamlet — an interactive exhibit which teaches children how to stay safe around electricity.

Lauren Yokomizo, an assistant field deputy from Los Angeles Supervisor Don Knabe’s office, attended the event and asked Hosea to help with Rowland Heights’ free emergency preparedness fair on Saturday. The event is from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Peter F. Schabarum Regional Park, 17250 E. Colima Road in Rowland Heights.

“Being prepared means not only having supplies, but also having a plan of action,” said Hosea.

Teachers can get free classroom materials on electrical safety by visiting: sce.e-smartonline.net/teachers/materials/index.html.

Topics: Safety, People