With electric light, electric power and electric heat we entered the modern age. Electricity makes the world move, and we depend upon it for almost all of our everyday conveniences.
Many safety risks exist alongside the benefits of electricity, however, and helping children to learn how to avoid these hazards is essential. In the summertime when warm weather draws everyone outside these precautions are more important than ever.
The month of June is National Safety Month, and therefore a good time to assess your children’s knowledge about the dangers of electricity, especially when driving a vehicle. No matter how old your children are – teenagers with a learner’s permit or youngsters along for the ride – understanding electricity on the road will take them a long way towards life-long safety.
Driving During a Storm
Heavy rain, hail and wind storms can be hazardous for drivers of all ages. Extreme summer weather is a common culprit of on-road electrical hazards, bringing down power poles and power lines. If the lines remain energized, they are a severe driving hazard and should be avoided at all costs. Severe weather also increases the possibility of car accidents, and they can also cause electrical damage or come in contact with downed power poles and lines. You should carefully watch for these risks when driving in a storm, and remember that sometimes it’s best to stay in place until the storm passes.
Downed Power Lines
Even if you’re vigilant and well-prepared, there is always the possibility of power lines falling on your car, and you should be prepared to take action if you are faced with this emergency situation. The best thing you can do is remain calm and stay in the vehicle. It can be impossible to tell if the power lines are energized, and getting out of your car could cause you and or your children to be electrocuted. Call 911 right away, and if good Samaritans approach you to try to assist you, warn them to stay back and that you are waiting for professional emergency help to arrive. Do not touch anything metal inside the car.
If you have been in a car accident with your children and your vehicle is on fire or damaged in another way so that it poses immediate harm, you may have little choice but to escape the vehicle – even in the presence of downed power lines. If you find yourself in a situation with no other option, it is important to exit your car as carefully as possible. If the power lines are energized, simply stepping onto the ground could conduct electricity through your body, causing potentially fatal injuries. You should quickly jump out of the vehicle while being careful not to touch it and the ground at the same time.
Electricity in Your Home and Garage
There are many electrical risks for young children in the garage, and even with careful childproofing, the constant presence of electricity can pose many hazards – especially in the proximity of water. Make sure you have GFCI-protected electrical sockets installed. Never plug garage doors or power tools into extension cords, as they are not safe as permanent house wiring and using them in this way can lead to electrical fire or shock. It is important to help your children understand that their calm, logical response to a life-threatening situation is an important step to ensure their ongoing safety. Review home security and safety information with your child and install working fire and carbon monoxide alarms outside every room in the house. Make a safety plan with your children to ensure their safety in all types of situations.
Even when not riding in a car, children should be made aware of the dangers of power poles, power lines, transformers and substations in your neighborhood. They may present a fascination for children, and you should instruct them to never play near power lines, try to climb the poles or throw objects at the power lines. If they understand and respect the very real power of electricity, they will be more likely to stay far away from downed power lines when traveling on the road.
With good information about how to respond to the threat of dangerous electricity, kids can quickly become knowledgeable and proactive about helping themselves and others remain safe while driving. Electricity is nothing to take “lightly” and staying safe should always be a top priority, no matter your destination.
We want to know, have you ever experienced downed power lines while in your car? Share your comments below.
Guest post by Emma Jane
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