By STEVE DYE
In the modern era of computer tablets, cell phones, and game consoles, children might not remember what it is to play without power.
Union Street Elementary fourth grade classes received a visit from Ponca City Energy last week, with representatives demonstrating that while electricity might power toys, itis certainly nothing to play with.
Accompanied by Administrative Secretary Cindy Heidlage, Electrical Superintendent Aaron Michaud and Supervisor Dennis Knott presented students with a number of interactive activities designed to demonstrate both the wonders and dangers of modern electricity.
“We had a great time, and the students seemed really amused withDennis and Aaron’s presentations,” says Heidlage. “We try to be entertaining while cautioning the kids that while every preventative measure possible is taken, power lines and poles can still be dangerous.”
Students are encouraged to make a circle, with energy sticks and balls then used to demonstrate the completion of agrounded circuit in one of those demonstrations.
“If someone lets go of hands in the circuit, the energy stick will not light up,” Heidlage explains. “The energy balls are individually used by a student to show what happens when there is a break in the circuit: No lights or noise!”
Michaudconducted a presentation of the scaled-down “Electric City” to students, with Knott presenting and explaining safety equipment electrical lineworkers are required to wear to forestall their day to day occupational hazards.
A pair of demonstrations conducted by Michaud — one of which quickly cooked a hot dog to temperature and beyond— illustrated the dangers presented by wildlife to both Ponca City Energy infrastructure and themselves.
“Everyone should see this one, it’s really something,” says Heidlage. “We had two outages at substations last week, and when a squirrel or other animal makes contact with a pole transformer, it’s hard on equipment — and also, unfortunately, pretty hard on the squirrel as well.”