Monday, March 26, 2007

CITO Safety


This post is a little different than my normal electrical safety rant but you'll still enjoy it...

Are you ready to help out this year in a Geocaching CITO (Cache In Trash Out)? Good job! Here's some information I want to share with you before you go out grabbing for garbage to clean up a special area.

Keep your eyes open for used needles.

HIV, Hepatitis B and C are diseases that are carried in the blood. These diseases aren’t spread through everyday contact. If needles are shared, individuals are exposed to the blood of another person. If a person is infected with hepatitis B or C or HIV, there’s a risk of the disease being spread.

Accidentally being pricked by a used needle may spread a disease to the individual.

Occasionally, needles are found in places where children play such as parks and school yards. When this happens, it’s important that the needle is safely collected and disposed of by an adult.

In last years Edmonton CITO we found a needle in the city park. Luckily we had a pre-CITO speach for kids on used needle safety.

Teach children these simple rules:

• If you find a needle don’t touch it!

• Tell an adult where you found the needle.

• If you are hurt by a needle, tell an adult. You will need to see a doctor right away.

What is the correct way to collect and dispose of a used needle?

FOR ADULTS, Pick the needle up carefully –
don’t touch it with your bare hands. If you have gloves, wear them, or use a heavy cloth. If tongs are available, use them to pick up the needle.

• Hold the needle tip away from you. Be careful not to prick yourself.

• Place the needle with the tip downward in a can or plastic container with a lid. Seal securely.

• Call or bring the container to the health unit. Or, take the container to the police, hospital, emergency department, or a hazardous waste disposal site near you.

Always look to see what you're grabbing at and use a good pair of work gloves.

Making a CITO "pokey" stick to pick up garbage is safer yet. Safe against needles, glass and easy on your lower back.

It's easy to build a CITO "pokey" stick.

Find an old wooden broom stick, a couple hose clamps and a long nail. Once you attach the nail to the wooden broom stick with the hose clamps you may want to reinforce with duct tape.
Please teach children how to use these sticks safely. (not swinging them around and always keeping the point down)

You may be bending down occasionally around sharp tree branches, etc and handling a garbage pick-up pokey stick so you may want to wear a pair of safety glasses.

Will you be cleaning up near a roadway?

You may want to consider getting some reflective safety vests.

The more visible you are, the safer you are.

It's a good idea to wear a pair of boots with ankle support.

Don't forget to bring a bottle of water to keep hydrated.

As an event organizer it's a good idea to have a First Aid Kit on site.

There may be other hazards at your CITO that have not been addressed in this post so please address those hazards with proper controls before you start your event.

Safety is everyone’s responsibility.

Enjoy your CITO and please keep safe,


(Ref. needle safety )

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Copper Theft, What's the Danger To Us?


Geocaching Electrical Safety

Let me explain yet another reason why you should not hide geocaches on power utility equipment (ie, power and lighting poles, transformers, switching cubicles, streetlight cabinets, etc.)

A recent rise in the worldwide price of copper has sparked a massive demand for the metal and led to a dramatic increase in the number of copper-related thefts across North America and the other continents.

Try typing “copper theft” in Google. You’ll come up with 1,060,000 results.
Thieves are stealing copper wire from many sources.(ie, church roof thefts(link), plumbing pipe, wire) This includes copper wire from power companies. Copper wire has been stolen from substations, fallen wire and equipment from poles after storms, and the copper "ground wire" in power boxes just like the boxes that may be in your front yard. A lot of these thieves have been killed in the process. Link

The “ground wire” electrically connects equipment to the ground to protect the general public and employees who work on the equipment. ie, If a power box has an internal wire come loose and the wire touches the inside of the metal box, electricity will run from that box through a copper “ground wire” to the ground.Thieves are stealing these "ground wires", taking them to scrap yards for cash.

**Remember, when the “ground wire” has been stolen and/or the electrical equipment has been tampered with, a hazard may exist when a person touches the electrical equipment. The person who touches it may be the path to ground for electricity and may be electrically shocked.**

Power Utilities everywhere are very concerned about this situation. Please read these links...

Link 1
Link 2

Please do not to try to hide or find geocaches on electrical equipment. There are so many other places we can hide our caches.

Thanks for listening,