Jared Hendricks

By: Jared Hendricks, Marketing/Energy Conservation Manager

With the 2015 Steele County Free Fair wrapped up, the fairgrounds now show little trace that the largest event in Steele County just entertained over 300,000 visitors for six days. Driving by today you will see little evidence of the rides, games, and fried food that brought so many people together.

The SCFF always contends with Mother Nature and this year was no different. The rain, mud puddles, and cooler temperatures may have meant the midway and food alleys were slower, but it didn’t slow down people visiting our booth in the Four Seasons Center. Many fairgoers stopped by our booth to fill up on ice cold water and grab one or two of our ever-popular, fresh tootsie rolls. This year’s booth also included color-changing cups that became the talk of the building with many people stopping by saying things like “I saw my friend with one of these cups and had to get one,” or “I heard about your cups on the other side of the Four Seasons.”

But our booth wasn’t just about treats and free water. The people who stood in line for water had the chance to look at our electric safety city (a model which demonstrates several typical electric hazards) and learn a little bit about being safe around power lines. We emphasized two messages: 1) be aware of power lines when trimming trees, and 2) stay in your car if a downed power line ends up on your car.

With overhead power lines being just part of the scenery in this age, it is easy to become complacent about where they are. It is very important to take an extra minute or two before trimming trees to make sure you don’t have power lines close by. Trimming trees around lines is very dangerous and should only be done by trained professionals. If you need to trim trees near power lines, please call us first!

Downed power lines, although less common, are just as important to be aware of. Exiting your vehicle while a downed line is on top could cause severe injury or death. It is always best to stay in your vehicle and wait until help arrives. Make sure not to touch anything near the outside of your car until emergency crews have directed you to do so.

Electric safety isn’t just a conversation for adults. Our electric safety city was on display to help show fairgoers of all ages some real life examples of unsafe actions near both overhead and underground power lines. The demonstration city is used every year at Steele County Kid’s Safety Camp to show students coming out of 3rd grade how to be safe. Linemen will use the different display tools along with frying hotdogs on the wires to show the students just how dangerous power lines are. The real life demonstration is a great way for these messages to sink in. In fact, many kids who have previously been through the camp came up to the safety city and recalled the lessons they learned.

So, please be safe around power lines; we want to see you again at next year’s fair!