You Know What This Storm Makes Me Think Of? Why, Kite Safety, of Course!

Don’t laugh. On the jump is a photo sent to me by a FBvian of a kite tangled in power lines near I-35 and Highway 67. And every year, people think it’s a good idea to fly kites in the middle of incredible lightning storms. And, every year, they shouldn’t. In fact, the good people at Oncor have prepared a press release to give you tips on how to be safe while flying kites. April is, after all, National Kite Month, and we should all think about that for a few moments. Thus ends my obligation to the good people at Oncor and their open-tab policy at Lee Harvey’s last night. Carry on.

kite in power linesDALLAS (April 8, 2009) – Kites are a great way for children to have fun and enjoy the outdoors. However, if they are not used properly, especially near power lines, kites can also be very dangerous.

With the warm weather and cool breezes, it’s no wonder April is National Kite Month. Oncor has some special safety suggestions for playing it safe while enjoying this fun, family activity, along with some general outdoor safety tips for kids.

Oncor offers these kite safety tips for children:
– Adults should always supervise children flying kites.
– Never fly kites near power lines or during thunderstorms. Ben Franklin was lucky. Kites and lightning don’t mix.
– If the kite approaches a power line, release the string immediately. Never touch a power line or anything that is touching a power line, as it could be electrified and dangerous.
– Do not attempt to retrieve a kite in a power line; notify an adult to call 9-1-1. The authorities will know how to safely remove the kite.
– Never use metallic string as kite string. While pretty, strings with metallic pieces are conductors of electricity and could lead to a serious injury or even death if electrified.
– Never use metal rods or other metal parts when building kites. Metal is a conductor of electricity and could lead to a shock or very serious injury for the kite flyer if it comes in contact with a power line.

Other outdoor tips for children:
– Pad-mount transformers, areas around substations, utility poles or other electric equipment are off-limits to children. Obey warning signs such as “Danger,” “High Voltage” or “Keep Out.”
– Never touch or approach a downed power line. Report the hazard to an adult immediately, who should call 9-1-1. Assume that power lines and anything touching the power lines are electrified and thus dangerous.
– Do not climb fences or trees that are close to power lines.

Remember, it’s not enough to just know these tips – you have to actually follow them, too. To view these electric safety tips or for more from Oncor’s Lifetime of Safety program, visit www.oncor.com/safety.

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Comments

4 responses to “You Know What This Storm Makes Me Think Of? Why, Kite Safety, of Course!”

  1. Lee's friend says:

    WTF!? I was @ Lee Harvey’s last night. I missed out on an open tab? Is it because I forgot my kite?

  2. amanda says:

    Exactly. I need to get to know those oncor chicks better. How much was the tab? Bigger than a bread basket?

  3. so confused says:

    Glad to see free drinks at a bar from our regulated ute = traction for a recycled (04.01.07) child-related kite safety release…

    This is just weird.

    Not even taking into account this (see page 6).

    But hey, free drinks!

  4. ww says:

    Just so everybody knows about the Ben Franklin kite experiment…..

    His discoveries included his investigations of electricity. Franklin proposed that “vitreous” and “resinous” electricity were not different types of “electrical fluid” (as electricity was called then), but the same electrical fluid under different pressures. He was the first to label them as positive and negative respectively,[21] and he was the first to discover the principle of conservation of charge.[22] In 1750, he published a proposal for an experiment to prove that lightning is electricity by flying a kite in a storm that appeared capable of becoming a lightning storm. On May 10, 1752, Thomas-François Dalibard of France conducted Franklin’s experiment (using a 40-foot (12 m)-tall iron rod instead of a kite) and extracted electrical sparks from a cloud. On June 15, Franklin may have possibly conducted his famous kite experiment in Philadelphia and also successfully extracted sparks from a cloud, although there are theories that suggest he never performed the experiment. Franklin’s experiment was not written up until Joseph Priestley’s 1767 History and Present Status of Electricity; the evidence shows that Franklin was insulated (not in a conducting path, since he would have been in danger of electrocution in the event of a lightning strike). Others, such as Prof. Georg Wilhelm Richmann of Saint Petersburg, Russia, were electrocuted during the months following Franklin’s experiment. In his writings, Franklin indicates that he was aware of the dangers and offered alternative ways to demonstrate that lightning was electrical, as shown by his use of the concept of electrical ground. If Franklin did perform this experiment, he may not have done it in the way that is often described, flying the kite and waiting to be struck by lightning, as it could have been dangerous.[23] Instead, he used the kite to collect some electric charge from a storm cloud, which implied that lightning was electrical.

    On October 19 in a letter to England explaining directions for repeating the experiment, Franklin wrote:

    “ When rain has wet the kite twine so that it can conduct the electric fire freely, you will find it streams out plentifully from the key at the approach of your knuckle, and with this key a phial, or Leiden jar, maybe charged: and from electric fire thus obtained spirits may be kindled, and all other electric experiments [may be] performed which are usually done by the help of a rubber glass globe or tube; and therefore the sameness of the electrical matter with that of lightening completely demonstrated.[24]

    ww