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 26. Over 6,000 school-aged children from throughout Wisconsin and Illinois received valuable information about energy safety.

The 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 provided a valuable lesson instead of a tasty treat.

Employees Mark Schmidt and Joan Gilson used a sausage 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 Kyle Urban helped them put on safety gloves and rubber sleeves, and allowed them to touch harnesses, ropes and other equipment that linemen use every day. After all of the equipment was on, the kids were challenged to pick up small objects and move around. Many stated that it was very hard. This helped them appreciate some the skills linemen need to help restore power.

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 Nation Allen and Rob Murphy, who could be seen encouraging young line workers to keep trying to connect the fuse.

Bringing the heat, natural gas safety

Employees John Feider, Steve Backhaus, Matt LeDuc, Jami Kaminski and Brett Norder made a pitch for natural gas safety. Kids discovered the path natural gas takes to get to their homes and how its smelliness helps us detect danger. 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 even a post for a basketball hoop — can damage underground equipment, which can be dangerous and even deadly. To help hit his messages home, he 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 really knocked it out of the park.