We Energies safety experts were a hit right off the bat during the CBS 58 Milwaukee Brewers Weather Day at American Family Field on April 17. Over 8,000 school-aged children from throughout Wisconsin and Illinois received valuable information about energy safety.

A triple-play combination of employees — from electric operations, natural gas operations and damage prevention — touched all the bases by sharing the importance of staying safe above and below ground, no matter the weather conditions.


Batting first, wire safety
And what would a trip to the ballpark be without a hot dog or brat? On this day, however, the fan-favorite ballpark sausages served as a valuable lesson instead of a tasty treat.

Employees Jim Poulakos and Nation Allen used hot dogs to demonstrate what would happen if a person touched live wires: They would cook from the inside out within seconds. The visibly astonished students quickly learned how important it is to avoid contact with electric wires and equipment.
The demonstration took place on a small-scale model of a street with homes, businesses, cars and people to show how each might come into contact with power equipment.


On the mound, safety equipment
Students were then eager to try on safety equipment. Employee Jami Kaminski helped them put on safety gloves and rubber sleeves, and allowed them to touch harnesses, ropes and other equipment that line crews use every day.

Students stood in long lines to connect fuses at a simulator demonstrating what happens when the lights go out. They then restored power with the help of employees Kyle Urban and Rob Murphy, who encouraged the young line workers to keep trying to connect the fuse.


Bringing the heat, natural gas safety
Employees Tim Burke, Frank Mirr, Matt LeDuc, Kelly Skiles and Brett Norder made a pitch for natural gas safety. Kids discovered components of a natural gas distribution system, including the pressure reduction that takes place throughout the system Gas meters with windowed fronts allowed the students to see how they function. Students were given demonstrations of how crews fuse pipes together with a hot-plate heater. They seemed fascinated with how the pipe came together, and collected the plastic ribbons created when the pipe was cut.


Additionally, students learned that bubbles can be an important safety tool for discovering gas leaks. A paintbrush was used to paint a soapy mixture on a home piping model, then students watched as the mixture turned into bubbles, simulating a leak.

During employee Andrew LaTona’s turn at bat, students learned that any digging in their backyards — whether for a garden, a fire pit or a post for a basketball hoop — can damage underground equipment, which can be dangerous and even deadly. To help hit his messages home, LaTona handed out coloring sheets that showed happy puppies digging, and sunglasses displaying the important message that calling 811 at least three days before digging can prevent accidents from happening.


All in all, the group’s energy safety messages knocked it out of the park.