Safety of the public
Our commitment to safety extends beyond AEP’s employees and contractors to our communities. We are constantly improving ways to communicate safety information to our neighbors, public contractors and first responders who are at risk of coming into contact with our electrical facilities. We use multiple communication channels, including advertising, videos, direct mail, in-person training, social media campaigns and school education programs.
Unfortunately, despite our education and outreach efforts, four public fatalities occurred in the AEP service territory in 2019 due to electrical contact. In response, we increased our public safety efforts to increase public education and awareness for staying safe near electrical facilities.
During 2019, AEP nearly doubled the number of published published nearly 2,000 safety messages to approximately 2,000 messages shared across our social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. We have found weekly #SafetySaturday posts and posts with photos, links or infographics to be the most successful at increasing public safety awareness and engagement. We also engage with the public through promotion of “Call Before You Dig,” electrical safety awareness events and school safety programs.
In 2019, AEP Ohio built a new educational “live-line trailer” equipped with an array of innovative displays that demonstrate the potential dangers of electricity. The trailer travels to schools, safety conventions and county fairs. Visitors get to witness demonstrations of dangerous situations, such as a car crash or fallen tree, to learn how to protect themselves in these situations.
Because first responders may be the first to encounter a downed power line, we conduct outreach and education with them to ensure they stay safe when responding to an emergency. In 2019, Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) offered specialized training to teach first responders how to deal with a downed power line, how to safely exit a vehicle in contact with a power line, how electric system circuit protection works and other electrical safety best practices.
We continue to develop our public safety education programs, including participating in an Edison Electric Institute (EEI) working group that is developing common public safety messaging for all electric utilities. Once complete, this will provide a stronger, more consistent message about public safety across our industry.