Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Lightning Safety


Modified on January 2010

(Picture Copyright Gene Moore)

Lightning Safety

What would a Geocaching Electrical Safety Blog be without lightning information?
We've all been out geocaching on a beautiful day, then, we look off into the distance and see a storm rolling toward us. Now what?
I'm going to supply a link that I use for accessing information on lightening safety. We use this info at work as well. It's GREAT!

LINK (Environment Canada Lightening Safety)

I hope you find this link useful... I sure do.

Take care,


Photo used with special permission, Copyright, Gene Moore: www.chaseday.com
(Amazing pictures on website)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Effects of Electricity, Geocaching Electrical Safety


It doesn't take a lot of current to harm a person(Current=The flow of electrons).
A small amount of electricity can still cause a lot of damage. Take a look at the chart below for examples of what can happen if you get an electric shock. Remember, It's current and not voltage that kills(Voltage is what "pushes" the current along).

***The electricity in your house can be as dangerous as the electricity in outdoor power lines.*** (The only difference between the two is how you look after an electrical shock)

Play safe,


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Geocaching Electrical Safety 2


It’s been great seeing my first article posted on geocaching sites all over North America. I thank all site administrators who posted it for their generosity. It’s also been great seeing all the communication on forums.

There have been many great comments and questions come up on the topic. One question that comes to mind that I really enjoyed from a Vancouver Island, British Columbia geocacher is:“Has anyone visited our cache **** ******* in **** *******? It's a small cache at one of the 4 legs of a tall power tower. Would this be considered a danger? If it is I will archive it right away.
That's a great question. I look at two things when it comes to safety. Probability and Severity.
Probability: What's the chance something's ever going to fail on a tower? Slim to none? Who knows?

Severity: What loss would you receive from an incident occurring at this structure if something failed? NO SECOND CHANCE. In my opinion I would NOT have a cache anywhere around that structure.

Also, the power utilities would never give permission for a game-piece on their electrical supporting structures.

Here's another question that may pop up, “What if I make a fake electrical box cache? That's not dangerous, is it?” My question back is, Do kids know the difference between real and fake boxes/equipment? Do adults know the difference? If a kid was taken to a number of fake electrical box caches with parents and the next time, being alone, came across a real, open vandalized electrical box would he/she know to walk away from the immediate danger? In my opinion kids wouldn’t know the difference and the last thing I'd want is my kid(s) getting used-to or being comfortable playing around this equipment.

**Here's an example of what's out there (I took this from a geocache log that I came across), "... Container is an electrical box (no power) mounted on the side of my building. All Employees are aware of box so this should be a muggle free zone...

I hope kids OR adults are not trying to find caches by opening up any electrical box covers. Again, do kids know the difference between real and fake? I've seen electrical box caches that look like real live electrical equipment. That scares me. This is coming from a guy who investigates power line contacts and has seen the first hand results of electricity.

-Do I know of any kids getting killed by electricity when "Geocaching" around electrical equipment? No.

-Do I know of any kids getting killed by electricity when just "playing" around electrical equipment? Yes.
There are a lot of examples out there on the web. Here’s one very sad incident: ( link ) It doesn't matter if an electrical box, pole, conduit, wire, etc is at a potential of 120 or 8000 volts, if you’re in the path of electricity when it’s trying to go to ground and about 1 amp passes through your ticker you're done. It's amps that kill, not voltage. Amp (ampere)= amount of electrons flowing through a conductor. Voltage= what’s "pushing" those electrons through the conductor.

In my opinion there are so many other places we can hide our caches. Let's get in the habit of not hiding them on and around electrical equipment.
Thank you for listening,

Geocaching Electrical Safety


I've been geocaching for about a year now. I have found many creative types of geocaches. This is what makes it fun and challenging. Lately I've been concerned about the amount of geocaches that are hidden in and around electrical equipment.

I am a Safety Coordinator for a Power Utility here in Alberta. It is my job to look out for the men and women who work on our electrical lines and equipment. It's also my job to look out for the general public.One of my job tasks that I really enjoy is teaching kids at schools electrical safety smarts. I'll go to elementary schools throughout the year to present a safety cartoon and explain in detail the indoor and outdoor electrical hazards that exist. I explain real life examples of people getting hurt really bad and death due to electricity. I show them what dangerous wires, boxes and other equipment looks like. I teach them to stay away from all electrical lines and equipment and not to play on guard rails that sometimes protect the high voltage electrical equipment.,br>
I am asking all parents and kids not to geocache around any electrical equipment. This is power poles, electrical boxes that are in your yard or power boxes in some other location.Please let me explain my concerns.I want you to remember two very important characteristics of electricity.

1. Electricity always wants to go back to the ground.

2. Electricity is lazy. It will take shortcuts to get to the ground.
That could be a ladder touching a overhead power line or a geocacher touching the side of a damaged electrical box. Cars hit these types of boxes all the time and sometimes there are no visible signs of damage. Inside there may be wires loose that come undone due to impact and cause the ground to be energized. (Step Potential/Ground being electrified)

Also, the cabinet may become energized and when you touch the cabinet the electricity will pass through you to get to the ground.(Touch Potential)

In North America we have had fatalities due to Step & Touch Potential. There is no second chance.

Sometimes equipment just fails. The insulating factors that protect the public may fail due to age and possibly energize the box.

The City of Edmonton transformers have a voltage of 13,800. That's over 100 times the voltage in your wall that you may use when you plug in a toaster. Imagine that going through you. Just don't take the chance.

I am asking in behalf as a Safety Professional and Geocacher please not to hide caches on or around electrical equipment and not to even look for a cache that may be on or around any electrical equipment. If you believe that it is in a hazardous zone please contact the person who placed the geocache. If that is not a successful route please contact the person who approved it. Most of the time the approver of a geocache is not aware that it is in a dangerous zone. Let's look out for each other.
Thank you for listening to my concerns and play safe,