N.C. Electric Co-op Wants Kids to Avoid Electric Shock, Injuries Following ‘Fear Factor’ Episode

February 2, 2005

North Carolina Electric Co-op officials are urging parents to counsel children about electric safety in the wake of a controversial segment of the NBC reality program Fear Factor.

The show ran a segment that reportedly had contestants running through a cable maze in a power substation. As the contestants collected flags, they received electrical shocks.

“We’re concerned the show conveyed a message that people can withstand electric shocks without injury, especially at a substation,” said Tommy Greer, safety director for the North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives. “That’s the last place where you want to convey that message because the voltage that flows through a substation is lethal.”

Greer said he thought the safety disclaimer used on the show was inadequate. Greer urged parents and adults, regardless of whether they saw the Fear Factor program, to review the following safety tips with children.

— Substations are not playgrounds. Walls and fences surround substations for good reason. Don’t climb over or crawl under fences or gates. If a ball or toy goes over a fence and into a substation, call the local cooperative and they’ll have someone retrieve the item.
— Don’t allow children to play, climb or even touch green, pad-mounted transformers that are located in many neighborhoods.
— Make sure children never climb utility poles or towers.
— Don’t allow children to play in trees close to power lines. If the
tree is near a power line or has wires going through it, find another tree. Even if wires aren’t touching the tree, they could touch after a person’s weight is added to a branch.
— Don’t allow children to play or swing on guy wires. They hold up the power poles.
— If there are downed lines in the neighborhood after severe weather, keep children and pets inside.

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