Jan 20, 2014

Utilities and protecting children

4 min
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By Tristan Anwyn

Did you know that every day as many as seven children go to the emergency room for injuries sustained touching an electrical wall outlet?

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation, 70 percent of electrical accidents involving children occur at home while there is adult supervision. The onus is on parents to maintain a safe environment, and to educate their kids about the dangers of electricity and how to stay safe.

So what can you as a parent do to teach your kids about electrical safety? And what resources do utility companies offer to help you?

Teaching kids to respect electricity

Kids are fascinated by the world around them, and that includes electricity.

Teaching kids’ home safety is always important and never more so than when it comes to electrical safety - an electric shock can burn badly or even kill. Educating your kids today can keep them safe for the future.

A good starting point is to educate oneself about electricity.

Learn the basics - how it works, what causes electrical shocks, and how to practice electrical safety. Kids usually have plenty of questions. By being proactive and having good answers ready you'll be able to make learning about electricity a fun and engaging activity.

Learn more about utilities:

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Take time to talk to your kids, using some of the resources listed below if you like. Ask them questions to check understanding, or ask them to draw you a picture. Use practical real life examples that they can relate to and make sure you keep your explanations age appropriate and easily to grasp.

Make sure they know the basics

When teaching your kids about electricity, it's vital to make sure they know these electrical safety basics:

·         Don't insert anything into wall outlets;

·         Don't use anything with frayed or exposed wires;

·         Be mindful of trailing wires and keep cables away from heat sources;

·         Keep drinks away from electrical appliances;

·          Don't use electrical appliances in or near water or touch them with wet hands;

·         Don't climb trees near power lines;

·         Avoid downed power lines and poles;

·         Never enter a substation or climb a utility pole;

·         Keep kites and flying models away from power lines;

·         Don't swim during a storm or when one is brewing.

You can also a foster a safe environment by using plug and outlet protectors, checking that the electrical equipment in your home is in good order, and teaching children to ask an adult for help when it comes to changing a light bulb or retrieving that stuck piece of toast from the toaster.

Make the most of utility company resources

Many utility companies provide free resources to help educate your children about electrical safety.

Try these four to start with:

·         Dominon's - E-Smart Kids program offers an interactive website with plenty of kid-friendly resources and online games that teach everything from how electricity works to how to avoid electrical danger.

·         Georgia Power- runs the Learning Power program, sending staff into schools to provide interactive and interesting lessons to students and tools for educators. Why not contact your local school and see if they are interested in offering this program?

·         Southern Central Power Co - offers Just For Kids, a program with resources including online information and games, a free printable electrical safety activity book, and suggested lesson plans for teachers.

·         PG&E's - Safe Kids program offers informational booklets, teacher's guides, and pre and post lesson tests that teachers can use to get feedback on students' understanding. These resources could also be used at home.

Electricity is a vital resource in society and very safe if used carefully. By providing fun and interactive lessons and making the most of the available resources, you can teach your kids to respect electricity and use it safely.

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn is an author who writes on subjects as diverse as health, marketing, career education, and SEO.

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Jun 25, 2021

UK must stop blundering into high carbon choices warns CCC

Dominic Ellis
5 min
The UK must put an end to a year of climate contradictions and stop blundering on high carbon choices warns the Climate Change Committee

The UK Government must end a year of climate contradictions and stop blundering on high carbon choices, according to the Climate Change Committee as it released 200 policy recommendations in a progress to Parliament update.

While the rigour of the Climate Change Act helped bring COP26 to the UK, it is not enough for Ministers to point to the Glasgow summit and hope that this will carry the day with the public, the Committee warns. Leadership is required, detail on the steps the UK will take in the coming years, clarity on tax changes and public spending commitments, as well as active engagement with people and businesses across the country.

"It it is hard to discern any comprehensive strategy in the climate plans we have seen in the last 12 months. There are gaps and ambiguities. Climate resilience remains a second-order issue, if it is considered at all. We continue to blunder into high-carbon choices. Our Planning system and other fundamental structures have not been recast to meet our legal and international climate commitments," the update states. "Our message to Government is simple: act quickly – be bold and decisive."

The UK’s record to date is strong in parts, but it has fallen behind on adapting to the changing climate and not yet provided a coherent plan to reduce emissions in the critical decade ahead, according to the Committee.

  • Statutory framework for climate The UK has a strong climate framework under the Climate Change Act (2008), with legally-binding emissions targets, a process to integrate climate risks into policy, and a central role for independent evidence-based advice and monitoring. This model has inspired similarclimate legislation across the world.
  • Emissions targets The UK has adopted ambitious territorial emissions targets aligned to the Paris Agreement: the Sixth Carbon Budget requires an emissions reduction of 63% from 2019 to 2035, on the way to Net Zero by 2050. These are comprehensive targets covering all greenhouse gases and all sectors, including international aviation and shipping.
  • Emissions reduction The UK has a leading record in reducing its own emissions: down by 40% from 1990 to 2019, the largest reduction in the G20, while growing the economy (GDP increased by 78% from 1990 to 2019). The rate of reductions since 2012 (of around 20 MtCO2e annually) is comparable to that needed in the future.
  • Climate Risk and Adaptation The UK has undertaken three comprehensive assessments of the climate risks it faces, and the Government has published plans for adapting to those risks. There have been some actions in response, notably in tackling flooding and water scarcity, but overall progress in planning and delivering adaptation is not keeping up with increasing risk. The UK is less prepared for the changing climate now than it was when the previous risk assessment was published five years ago.
  • Climate finance The UK has been a strong contributor to international climate finance, having recently doubled its commitment to £11.6 billion in aggregate over 2021/22 to 2025/26. This spend is split between support for cutting emissions and support for adaptation, which is important given significant underfunding of adaptation globally. However, recent cuts to the UK’s overseas aid are undermining these commitments.

In a separate comment, it said the Prime Minister’s Ten-Point Plan was an important statement of ambition, but it has yet to be backed with firm policies. 

Baroness Brown, Chair of the Adaptation Committee said: “The UK is leading in diagnosis but lagging in policy and action. This cannot be put off further. We cannot deliver Net Zero without serious action on adaptation. We need action now, followed by a National Adaptation Programme that must be more ambitious; more comprehensive; and better focussed on implementation than its predecessors, to improve national resilience to climate change.”

Priority recommendations for 2021 include setting out capacity and usage requirements for Energy from Waste consistent with plans to improve recycling and waste prevention, and issue guidance to align local authority waste contracts and planning policy to these targets; develop (with DIT) the option of applying either border carbon tariffs or minimum standards to imports of selected embedded-emission-intense industrial and agricultural products and fuels; and implement a public engagement programme about national adaptation objectives, acceptable levels of risk, desired resilience standards, how to address inequalities, and responsibilities across society. 

Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner said the report is another reminder that if the UK is to meet its ambitious climate targets there is an urgent need to scale up bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

"As the world’s leading generator and supplier of sustainable bioenergy there is no better place to deliver BECCS at scale than at Drax in the UK. We are ready to invest in and deliver this world-leading green technology, which would support clean growth in the north of England, create tens of thousands of jobs and put the UK at the forefront of combatting climate change."

Drax Group is kickstarting the planning process to build a new underground pumped hydro storage power station – more than doubling the electricity generating capacity at its iconic Cruachan facility in Scotland. The 600MW power station will be located inside Ben Cruachan – Argyll’s highest mountain – and increase the site’s total capacity to 1.04GW (click here).

Lockdown measures led to a record decrease in UK emissions in 2020 of 13% from the previous year. The largest falls were in aviation (-60%), shipping (-24%) and surface transport (-18%). While some of this change could persist (e.g. business travellers accounted for 15-25% of UK air passengers before the pandemic), much is already rebounding with HGV and van travel back to pre-pandemic levels, while car use, which at one point was down by two-thirds, only 20% below pre-pandemic levels.

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