Superhero message hits the mark

Friday, October 16, 2015

A new safety initiative aimed at children is delivering encouraging results for a major power distribution company.

Safety first:Lessons learnt at school prompted these Athenree youngsters (from left) Josh McGinty and Toby and Flynn van der Zwan to alert authorities to a problem with a power transformer near their home.

Powerco launched Sparky, a superhero mascot, last year with the aim of educating youngsters about safety around its electricity and gas networks.

The interactive Sparky show has visited more than 60 primary schools in the Bay of Plenty and Taranaki with tips about dangers to watch out for and who to call if they saw a problem.

“The campaign is working as we’ve been contacted by youngsters or their parents on a least four occasions,” Powerco’s acting Health, Safety, Environment and Safety manager Don Elers said.

In the latest incident three Waihi Beach Primary School children came across a transformer with a faulty door in Athenree.

The mother of two of the boys, Tanya Cox, rang Powerco who was able to get a contractor to promptly fix the problem.

“Sparky visited Waihi Beach School a week or two before the holidays so Flynn (10) and Toby (9) van der Zwan and their friend, Josh McGinty (9), obviously remembered his safety advice,” she said.

Mr Elers said there had also been a couple of other calls concerning balls ending up in substation enclosures and one from a school asking for extra safety signs to be placed on a transformer.

“These are all part of the Sparky message so that’s very heartening. He is leaving a lasting impression,” he said.

Bouyed by the success, the Sparky campaign will head south to schools in Powerco’s Manawatu network next year.

“We’ve also just launched the Sparky website as another way to interact with children. It should be a hit as the site incorporates safety messages and a series of games and activities. These can be either played online or printed out,” he said.

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