When the Reed family went to Long Beach’s Heartwell Park on Saturday, they just planned to visit the duck pond as part of daughter Naomi’s seventh birthday celebration.
But they ended up seeing much more than ducks. The park that day was also the site of the Ready Long Beach Community Emergency Preparedness Expo, where more than 50 companies, governmental agencies and vendors had exhibits and demonstrations on emergency preparedness.
The event began with a little excitement when an emergency services helicopter landed in an open space at the park.
As the Reeds walked back from checking out the helicopter, they came across the Southern California Edison (SCE) exhibit area.
Naomi Reed watched as an SCE worker demonstrated the dangers of electricity on a miniature electrical safety display. The worker showed a toy man climbing on a roof and getting too close to the overhead power lines.
When the electricity crackled in a sudden arc, Naomi’s eyes widened and she stopped eating her green Popsicle mid-lick.
“See, if you touch those wires that go by our house, you could get really hurt,” said Naomi’s father, Woody.
While the Reeds watched the miniature electrical safety demonstration, other families learned about dangers around the home at SCE’s Hazard Hamlet display. The exhibit shows a cutaway of a village with different areas that could be hazardous.
For instance, an SCE employee showed how dangerous it could be to have an electric radio on or near a bathtub. An electrical buzz on the display showed the potential danger of a shock if the radio fell into the water.
“Our goal is that the people we serve in our service area always are prepared for emergencies,” said Ron Garcia, an SCE Local Public Affairs region manager.
Key Electric Safety Tips:
- Downed wires: If you see a downed wire, stay away. Do not approach or touch the wire or any person or object in contact with the wire. Call 911 and inform the operator it’s an electrical emergency.
- Power lines and water: Water conducts electricity, so don’t touch or step in water near a downed wire. Do not approach. Call 911 immediately.
- Overhead power lines: Always be aware of overhead power lines. For example, when working or playing in or around trees, check to make sure you are not close to overhead power lines. SCE recommends always staying at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines and electrical facilities. Do not approach or touch overhead power lines or any person or object in contact with the lines. Coming into contact with electrical wires can cause serious injury or even death — keep all objects away from overhead power lines.
- Underground power lines: Call 811 before every digging job to mark your underground utility lines. This service is free. Digging without calling can harm you and those around you and disrupt utility service to an entire neighborhood.
- Kites, balloons and objects caught on wires: Keep metallic balloons tied down or indoors and never release them outside as they can cause electrical outages if they come in contact with wires. Do not attempt to retrieve a balloon, kite or any foreign object tangled in wires. Stay away and call SCE at 1-800-611-1911.