Programs for Children

There’s something about the combination of theater and humor that grabs kids’ attention and keeps it. Just ask any of the 15,000 children across our service territory who got kid-friendly, long-lasting lessons in electrical safety from a stage show. Safety Detectives in Hot Pursuit, which teaches kids about electricity, how it’s used, and how to identify dangerous situations and prevent fires, was performed at 37 schools in 2017. It’s part of our plan to deliver its safety message to 100,000 youngsters over a five-year period. The goal is to teach young children lessons they will remember for a lifetime and share with their family and friends.

PPL also offers a free website that parents and teachers can use to teach electrical safety. There are activities and games for a wide age range with lessons on safety and energy conservation.

electrical safety exhibit

Electrical Safety Exhibit

More than 10,000 people have seen PPL’s Live Line Safety Exhibit, which features powerful examples of what happens when contact is made with overhead and underground power lines. Audiences are shown what happens when ladders, trees, birds and other things make contact with overhead power lines and what could happen if you don’t make an 811 call before digging.

installing smoke detectors

Installing Smoke Detectors

PPL Electric Utilities volunteers have helped the Red Cross install free smoke detectors in cities through our service territory including Harrisburg, Lancaster and Carbondale. The Red Cross, working with community volunteers, has installed more than 1 million smoke alarms nationwide since 2014.

Helping Members of the Public

PPL crews often pitch in to help members of the public whenever they see someone in trouble. Here are just a few examples:

Matt Strohl pictured in front of a bucket truck

Lehigh County

In summer 2017, lineman leader Matt Strohl spotted power lines hanging low to the ground and a nearby tree in flames following a vehicle crash in Catasauqua. Off duty and at his son’s baseball game, he ran to bystanders near the wire and flames and told them to stay back. Just as quickly, he called PPL’s Distribution Control Center to have the line de-energized to ensure everyone at the accident scene was safe. Strohl’s speedy response to a very dangerous situation helped keep people safe. And it helped PPL restore power to 2,400 customers within six minutes and another 916 customers within seven minutes.

Good Samaritan linemen

Lackawanna County

In late 2017, a pair of line workers saw a young man who needed assistance. Pete Kuckla and Jim Merrick were restoring power when they noticed a young man who appeared to be extremely disoriented. They called police to assist, and wen the man was away from his vehicle, the workers took the keys from the ignition to prevent the man from driving. It may have been a life-saving move. The workers later learned that the man apparently was experiencing an episode related to a previous traumatic brain injury. The young man’s father arrived and thanked PPL crews for helping to ensure his son’s safety.

Mike Umble with the 2016 spirit of courage award

Lancaster County

Journeyman substation electrician Mike Umble received the 2016 Spirit of Courage Award for helping to pull a man from a vehicle crash shortly before the car caught on fire in Manheim Township. He was on his way to his first job of the day when he saw a sport utility vehicle with the driver inside and a small amount of smoke coming from the vehicle. The Spirit of Courage program was started by the Burn Prevention Network in partnership with Valley Preferred and Lehigh Valley Health Network. It recognizes people who go “above and beyond” in doing something heroic to save someone from burn injuries or death.

Good Samaritan linemen from Frackville

Schuylkill County

A trio of linemen saw a man collapse on a hot summer day in Pine Grove and rushed to his aid. Journeyman Linemen Chad Fegley, Kevin Blessing and Kris Rech noticed a man collapse to the ground in summer 2016. They immediately called 911 and moved the man to a cool place and applied ice packs to cool him down. The medics eventually arrived and provided treatment for heat exhaustion. The crew later found out that the man had returned home and was doing well.

Sponsoring 811 Program

PPL was a proud sponsor of an annual contest to reward fire companies for promoting the 811 Call Before You Dig program. The contest, run by Pennsylvania 811, asks fire companies to place an 811 message on the marquee outside their fire hall, take a photograph of it and send it in. Pennsylvania 811 then promotes those entries on social media, and those fire companies are entered in prize drawings. The contest is held every April during National Safe Digging Month. Pennsylvania 811, the state’s 811 call center, says that underground utility lines are damaged every six minutes because someone digs without first dialing 811.

Education for First Responders

PPL Electric Utilities offers safety presentations by request to first responders such as fire fighters and police officers. We also use the Live Line Exhibit to help demonstrate the importance of electrical safety. PPL Electric Utilities in addition offers a special electrical safety website for first responders to learn to stay safe around potentially energized equipment.

Contractor Safety

We have a special website to help contractors be e-SMART workers. The site discusses electrical safety basics, calling 811 before digging, digging and excavating, and how to maintain a safe distance from electric lines and equipment.

Good Catch Program

Employees contributed a record number of safety improvement suggestions in 2017 through our Good Catch program, helping our company to its safest year on record and supporting charities across our service territory. The Good Catch program improves safety by soliciting employees’ suggestions and ideas — called “good catches” — about existing or potential safety issues.

That worker engagement translated to donations totaling $7,900 to organizations with safety-focused programs. The following groups benefited:

  • National Sisterhood United for Journeyman Linemen (Central/Susquehanna region)
  • Second Harvest Food Bank (Lehigh/Northeast)
  • Tri County Community Action (Harrisburg)
  • United Disability Services (Lancaster)
  • Valor Healthcare Clinic (General Office)
  • Center for Humanistic Change (Customer Service)