Interactive School Lessons Help Keep Kids Safe Around Electricity

SCE’s e-SMARTkids interactive website provides electrical safety materials and videos for school teachers throughout its service territory.

September 19, 2014 | By Michelle Aguirre

Elementary school teacher Peg O’Hare was attending a science teachers’ night at the Discovery Center in Santa Ana when she overheard some of her colleagues talking about eSMARTkids, an electrical safety program from Southern California Edison (SCE).

The positive comments intrigued O’Hare to check out the website and materials, and since then she has been using the program every chance she gets. 

“I chose to use it because it is an excellent program with much information and presented in a format which keeps the students' attention and interest,” said O’Hare, who has taught in both the Whittier and Azusa school districts. “The kids loved the program and asked a lot of great questions.”

SCE’s e-SMARTkids (sce.e-SMARTonline.net) website was launched in 1999 and offers complimentary videos, games and reading materials for teachers in Southern California classrooms. Each year, more than 1,000 educators use the energy education program in their fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms, helping students learn about staying safe around electricity. 

The information on the e-SMARTkids site is updated each year and students are also encouraged to share what they learn with their families. The website shows parents and their children how to make a checklist to help make their homes safe from electrical hazards.

“I was recently a speaker at a first grade class to discuss electrical safety and the excitement on the children’s faces while they were learning how to be safe around electricity was amazing, especially when they received their electrical safety coloring books,” said Dalilah Davaloz, SCE liaison for the program. “Their enthusiasm was great!”

Each year, an average of 51,000 electrical home structure fires occur, resulting in 500 deaths, more than 1,400 injuries and more than $1.3 billion in property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association in a study from 2003-2007. In addition, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that nearly 400 people are electrocuted in the U.S. each year.  

When Lorenda Gonzales, a teacher in the Whittier School District, needed to prepare her fifth-grade class for their state-required science test, she decided to use the materials and information on the e-SMARTkids website.

“It saved us time because the books were preprinted and we did not have to search for information or make copies,” she said. “Students liked them because they were colorful, had good graphics and were not old-fashioned like a lot of our materials.”

One of the most popular sections of the e-SMARTkids site is the video games. There’s a “Find the Hidden Dangers!” video game which asks the students to use their mouse to point out the dangers on the screen.  The “Who Can Resist?” video game asks students to use their mouse to build an open circuit.  

“At SCE, we want our customers to have the information they need to stay safe around electricity,” said Don Neal, SCE director of Corporate Environmental, Health and Safety. “We are excited about helping our educators, students and parents learn more about safety around electricity. We also hope they will share this information with family and friends.” 

For more information and to request a speaker: www.sce.com/speakersbureau or call 626-302-7892.

Topics: Safety