All that buzz / Features/Entertainment

All That Buzz: Shocking video

This video screen shot shows a what happens to a mylar balloon after it hits a power line. (Kristen Roderick/The Hutchinson News)

This video screen shot shows a what happens to a mylar balloon after it hits a power line. (Kristen Roderick/The Hutchinson News)

Sometimes reporters and photographers put themselves in shocking places to get a good shot.
Unfortunately, on Thursday morning, one supposed good shot almost made me lose my video camera.
Tim Boswell, field safety and training coordinator for Westar Energy, led a crew in demonstrating what not to do around power lines. The first demonstration involved a cute (stuffed) squirrel. It showed how the dressed-up rodents could cause a power outage.
Held up by a pole, the stuffed squirrel appeared to scurry along the power line, like most live squirrels do. Boswell continued to explain the demonstration until the squirrel hit the end.
ZAP!
The loud noise made everyone jump – the firefighters standing behind me, city officials standing next to them and even City Manager John Deardoff.
Suffice to say, there is not a complete video of what happens to the cute squirrel, but you can use your imagination.
Despite a shocking start to the demonstration, it was very informative. These lines are very powerful.
Sometimes there will be a mylar balloon – those shiny ones – caught up in the power lines.
Don’t pull it down. You could get shocked.
After a storm, people will carry around branches, not caring how tall they are.
Don’t let the branches near a powerline. You could get shocked and the branch could serve as a conductor, electrifying the ground.
Most people have climbed an aluminum ladder.
Don’t let it get near a power line. You could get shocked.
Basically, if there is anything near a power line, stay away. Call your local power company for any electrical information or check out some tips at http://www.westarenergy.com/wcm.nsf/content/safety.
I’d also like to point out that I was never truly in danger during this demonstration, but all of the firefighters – the bold and brave – stood behind me. That has to say something, right?

Kristen Roderick/Social Media Editor
Read more at All That Buzz.

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