North Syracuse Elementary Students Learn Power and Gas Safety

May 23, 2014

A combination of stormy weather and spending more time outdoors this summer is a good refresher for what to do when encountering power lines on the ground in Central New York.  About 400 students at Allen Road Elementary in North Syracuse participated in workshops today with National Grid representatives.

National Grid employees Paul Wilson (left) and Mike Hargreaves (right) instruct students about the dangers of power lines and how to stay safe.
Credit John Smith, WAER News

For 38 years, Service Rep Marty Mullane has been responding to gas and electric emergencies.  He showed students two sets of gloves he’s required to use when he’s dealing with downed power lines.  Fourth grader, Justin wondered how much voltage the special gloves can handle.


Justin - “Do you have different sets of gloves that have higher voltage?


Mullane - “Nope these are the only two we carry.” 

A 4th grade class learn about how National Grid Service Rep Marty Mullane (pictured left) deals with down power lines and other tips.
Credit John Smith, WAER News


The class also learned why they should stay far away from downed power lines.  Mullane relies on technology and distance to tell him if he’s safe.


“Because I’m trained, I can’t be within ten feet.  So, I put this (demonstrating)… it’s called a tick-tracer.  Hear it ticking ?  I put that at the end of that stick, I have another device. It goes on there; I extend it out ten feet, I put it on the wire. If this has a solid beep to it, it means the wire is live and that’s as far as I’m going. Until that’s actually tested to say it’s dead, it’s a live wire.”

A National Grid employees demonstrates the bucket lift they use on the job.
Credit John Smith, WAER News


Student Diana asks, “What is the scariest thing you ever saw?”


Mullane - “At a car accident, people knocked the pole down, there was wires on the car and there were children in the car. Now as long as you stay in the car, nothing is gonna to happen nothing’s going to happen. But if you step out of that car, you will be electrocuted.” 


A boy knew why Mullane says it’s safer to remain in the vehicle in that situation.


Boy - “The tires are made of rubber. So, the tires will insulate the electricity.”


Mullane - “Absolutely, very good !”

The lessons are something anyone can keep in mind.  Unfortunately children often don’t realize the dangers of wall sockets. More than 30-thousand non-fatal electric shock incidents happen in the US annually, as tracked by the Electrical Safety Foundation International.  Everyday, about seven children are taken to the E-R after tampering with electrical wall outlets and suffer shocks or burns as a result.  Protective socket covers can also be purchased.

A power panel shows various dangers of electric wall sockets.
Credit John Smith, WAER News