‘We can replace power lines and power poles, we can’t replace your life’: Cooperatives demonstrate the dangers of electricity

Agriculture

DODGE CITY, Kan. (KSNW)  – The 3i Show is a major agricultural event that started in 1953. It has set up shops in cities across the state like Great Bend, Hays, Garden City, and Dodge City, and is one of the state’s largest agricultural events. 

Last year, the show was put on hold due to COVID, but after two years of waiting, it has officially announced its 2021 kickoff. The 3i Show highlights industry, implements, and irrigation. This year, businesses from across the nation have traveled to Dodge City to showcase the latest in ag.

The show although is slightly down from years before still has close to 300 exhibitors. 

Those helping run-off the event say this past year has been a test, but they are excited to be back.

“Just to see some of our great friends that we haven’t now seen for a couple of years, it means a lot,” said Eddie Estes, president of the Western Kansas Manufacturers Association. 

Estes says one way they handled last year’s cancellation was honoring exhibitor entry fees and either rolling them over to this year or refunding the money completely. This year, one of the exhibitors in attendance was a group of electrical cooperatives.

For the first time, Wheatland Electric Cooperative, Victory Electric Cooperative, Pioneer Electric Cooperative, and Southern Pioneer Electric Company have joined forces at the 3i Show to demonstrate the dangers of electricity. 

They say they’ve seen a rise in accidents this past year, and they are hoping to prevent more.

Thousands of volts of electricity can race through power lines. “We can replace power lines and power poles, we can’t replace your life, you don’t get a second chance at it,” said Danny Law, Safety and Compliance Manager for Pioneer Electric Cooperative and Southern Pioneer Electric Company.

Crews carried out live high-voltage, true-to-life flashes, flames, sizzles, and smoke. “We deal with it every day and our members and the public don’t have the knowledge or the education or know the actual hazards and dangers,” said Mikey Goddard, Vice President of Safety for Victory Electric Cooperative

The demo is designed to teach people how to stay safe, and what to do or not to do, if they get caught in a life-threatening situation, like a car crash, severe storms, or downed lines. “Just cause a power line is laying on the ground does not mean it’s dead and de-energized. They can be laying on the ground in the perfect condition and still be energized,” said Law. 

Crews say one of the biggest takeaways is to be situationally aware. “Know your surroundings and be aware,” said Goddard.

The cooperatives say if you do witness an accident involving power lines, stay at least 20 feet away and call 911, but if you are the one in the accident, if possible, stay in your car until help can come. Cooperatives stress if you absolutely have to leave the car, jump free and clear out of the vehicle, and then continue to hop or shuffle at least 33 feet away to hopefully prevent getting shocked.

For more information on the Western Kansas Manufacturers Association or the 3iShow, click here.

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