Co-op’s safety demos continue to deliver a powerful message to emergency responders

Jimmy Liverman, vice president of operations, and Christian Bland, first class line technician, give safety demonstration to firefighters at Millennium Fire Department.

When the Roanoke team pulls up to a local fire department with a trailer equipped with a model electrical distribution system, they do so with a pack of hotdogs in hand and one thing in mind – potentially saving a life.

Having been a volunteer firefighter for Hertford County for 25 years, Glenn Brown, the co-op's safety and loss control coordinator, knows the importance of safety while responding to an emergency.  Brown believes that the demos show what can happen if an emergency responder does not correctly assess a scene when they arrive.

"Nearly all emergency scenes have some sort of electrical hazard, and training and education are the greatest tools any emergency responder has," Brown explained.  "It gives emergency responders the knowledge to assess the scene so they and their fellow responders can provide the safest assistance possible. There are many challenges when responding to an emergency, and electrical hazards are just another one to contend with."

Why are staff equipped with a pack of hot dogs during these demos?  Jimmy Liverman, the co-op's vice-president of operations, explains that hot dogs are the closest thing to human flesh - made of meat, fat, and water.  The hot dogs help demonstrate the overall message that you don't ever want to make contact with a power line.

"The model electrical distribution system includes poles, wires, and a transformer to simulate realistic electrical hazards," Liverman stated.  "The scenarios that we demonstrate show emergency responders what to look for as well as how to make the scene as safe as possible to provide assistance."

This year, the co-op has visited several local fire stations, including Lewiston-Woodville Fire Department, Murfreesboro Fire Department, Town of Ahoskie Fire Department, Ahoskie Rural Fire Department, and, most recently, Millennium Fire Department.

Brown states that the co-op will continue to take the demonstration to as many community organizations as possible to drive home this essential message that can help save a life.