100,000 Kids in Ottawa Now Wired for Safety

It could be any town in Canada – a seemingly innocuous village. But like any other modern community, it too is home to the potential for accidents from electrical hazards, if you’re not aware of them. Most kids never give much thought to that green transformer box at the park or those overhead wires. However, once the young audience looks down at this tiny model of any town in Ontario, they soon realize that it looks a lot like the place where they live and play.

Electricity Safety and Conservation specialist, Danny Pece, uses “High-Line Hazard,” an electrified display of a miniature village to demonstrate to a roomful of captivated students that electrical dangers surround them every day. This program, sponsored by Hydro Ottawa, has been educating young minds about electricity safety and conservation for the past five years.

Hydro Ottawa celebrated a major milestone this year in training the 100,000th Ottawa-area elementary student through its Electricity Safety and Conservation Program. This special moment in the program’s history captured the attention of Ontario’s Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, the Honourable Brad Duguid, who joined Hydro Ottawa President and CEO Rosemarie Leclair, and 290 students and teachers at Connaught Public School to celebrate this milestone this past June.

Since 2005, more than 700 presentations in 190 elementary schools across the Ottawa community have been delivered thanks to Hydro Ottawa’s sponsorship. The program, which is available in English and French, is provided free-of-charge to students from kindergarten to grade eight. In addition to helping young students learn how to stay safe around electrical equipment, it also provides helpful tips about how to save electricity.

“We are very proud to have reached more than 100,000 students in Ottawa through this program,” said Rosemarie Leclair, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hydro Ottawa. “It is an informative and engaging way to educate young children about electrical safety and energy conservation. Injuries due to electricity are often life-altering and sometimes fatal. As a company with a long-standing commitment to safety, we want to help ensure that no child in Ottawa is injured because they are unaware of the dangers of electricity.”

Students learn to recognize hazards around their home, including how they should never let their little brother or sister play with electrical cords or put their fingers, pencils or any other object into electrical sockets. Danny also tells them the heroic story of a young girl from Burlington who saved her mother’s life and six other people when she remembered the lessons she learned from an Electricity Safety and Conservation presentation. They were in a car accident with downed wires. “She made them all stay in the car and saved her life and everyone else’s that day,” he explained.

School officials are pleased with the ‘buzz’ the presentation creates outside of the classroom. “I know our students really enjoy learning about electricity and they talk about the lessons they’ve learned afterwards with their friends and families at home as well. It’s clear that Hydro Ottawa’s Electricity Conservation and Safety Program provide children with important knowledge that lasts a lifetime,” said Irene Cameron, Principal at Connaught Public School.

Hydro Ottawa is one of about 80 electrical utilities who have been working with schools across the province to help increase elementary students awareness about both energy conservation and safety.

Hydro Ottawa offers this program to schools in our service territory and they can learn more by visiting www.hydroottawa.com. Many other local utilities also offer similar programs. Teachers and parents should call their local utility to see what safety education programs are available in their community.

Submitted by Hydro Ottawa