Graphic demonstration illustrate's electricity's power

Thursday, March 24, 2005
Ryan Hammond, a lineman for the city of Curtis, demonstrates the power of electricity to scorch the bucket of a backhoe. (Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette)

CURTIS -- Electricity is like a microwave, a presenter at a farm safety day at the college in Curtis told a group of elementary students. "It cooks from the inside out. It boils your blood and looks for a way out."

City of Curtis utilities supervisor Sid Lewis and lineman Ryan Hammond were not trying to "gross out" the kids, just impress upon them the very real dangers associated with electricity.

Lewis and Hammond were speakers at the annual "Progressive Farmer" farm safety day camp for Maywood, Medicine Valley and Eustis-Farnam elementary students March 17. Other speakers were:

* Medicine Valley High School FFA members -- Mower and ATV safety.

* Curtis Telephone Company and Frontier County EMT's -- 911 calls.

* Matt Phillips and the North Platte Police Department -- Drug awareness.

* Roger Bryant and Steve Cole -- Hunter safety.

* Frontier County Fire Department -- Farm machinery safety.

Lewis told the students -- most of them from farm homes -- that electricity moves easily through aluminum, and aluminum irrigation pipes. "Do not stand under power lines and tip an irrigation pipe up to shake out a rabbit," he said.

"Some lines are underground," Hammond said, explaining that Nebraska law requires that people planning to dig notify utility companies at least three days before digging so the utilities can mark electric lines.

If a downed power line falls on a vehicle, the best thing to do, Lewis said, is to call for help if possible, or to simply wait for help. "Help will find you when they come to investigate a power outage," he said.

Lewis also said a person may jump away -- both feet together -- from a vehicle that has come into contact with a power line and is burning. "Don't step off or out, and don't touch the vehicle," he said.

Both men encouraged kids to fly their kites far, far away from power lines, and to maintain a "10-foot rule" at all other times. "Stay at least 10 feet away from power lines," Lewis said. "Keep everything at least 10 feet away from power lines."

Caution should also be used in small, tight places, the men said, such as bathrooms, where hair dryers, radios, CD players and electric razors are in use around water, a good conductor of electricity. "Be aware of power wherever you are," Hammond said.

In a law mower safety class, youngsters learned these six rules:

1. Do not mow without an adult nearby.

2. Do not mow wet grass because it creates slippery surfaces.

3. Pick up all debris, and remove all people and animals from the yard.

4. Keep hands and feet away from the mower's blades.

5. Never fill a gas tank while the mower is hot or running -- both situations can cause explosions.

6. Never point a discharge chute at anyone.

Farm Safety Day Camp was sponsored financially by these local entities: Ag Valley Co-Op of Curtis, All Points Co-Op of Gothenburg, Brown's of Curtis, Curtis State Bank, Curtis Telephone Company, Eustis Body Shop and Eustis 66 Service.

Farnam Bank and Insurance Agency, Farmers State Bank of Maywood, Frontier County Farm Bureau Board and Garst Seeds of Eustis.

Grabenstein Insurance of Eustis, Nebraska State Bank of Curtis, Petersen Automotive and Petersen Secretarial of Curtis and Pioneer Seeds of Moorefield.

Cookies and drinks were provided by Farm Bureau Insurance/Brad Welch and the Busy Homemakers, Neighborly Belles and Stockville Women's Club and the women of St. James Catholic Church, St. John Lutheran Church and the United Methodist Church.

National sponsors of the farm safety seminars are: Pioneer, Kawasaki, Case IH, the Farm Credit System, Bayer, State Farm Insurance, Farm Plan, Shell Lubricants and Dupont Crop Protection.

State sponsors are: Union Pacific Railroad and the Farmers National Company.

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