Electrical Safety Authority gets graphic to promote safety message

A power line safety campaign that's turned to crime

The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) has turned to crime stories for its latest awareness campaign.

One of the organization's PSA case files

As part of Powerline Safety Week (May 12-18), the group oversees electrical safety and inspections in Ontario has launched a web-based mobile-friendly game called the Powerline Deadly Dozen, which features 12 unsolved cases involving a “serial killer” – power lines. The deadly dozen refers to 12 of the most common hazards that power lines pose to the public, using real-life examples such as trimming tees, cleaning eaves troughs and flying a kite.

Participants can view each case file, (which contains mock witness statements and police reports, as well as images and video), to try to determine how a person was injured or killed.

“We wanted to paint a very accurate picture in a high-impact way, without mincing words or sugar-coating it,” said Kathryn Chopp, general manager, communications and stakeholder relations
 at ESA. “We made it deliberately hard-hitting and a bit edgy because people simply don’t know what the hazard is and what the consequences are, which can be severe electrical burns right up to causing your heart to stop.”

ESA research found that Ontarians don’t fully understand the danger of coming too close or touching a power line. While some know that a downed power line is dangerous, they don’t see the hazard in an intact power line, said Chopp. “We’ve got a real knowledge gap that puts people at risk,” she said.

After reading the case files, participants are presented with two explanations for what happened: one right and one wrong. If they’re correct, participants can enter into a draw for a weekly prize ($100 Canadian Tire gift cards) and a grand prize (a $1,000 Canadian gift card). Whether the answer is right or wrong, participants are shown a learning statement for each case, such as “never trim trees near power lines.” The contest runs until June 20.

ESA, which developed the campaign with Argyle Communications, is promoting the game via its social media channels, through both organic reach and Facebook ads, as well as with search ads. ESA works closely with the 70+ utilities in Ontario, which are also helping to spread the word.

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