by Sean J. Vanslyke | firstname.lastname@example.org
Family. If I learned one thing during 2020 and 2021 (Covid-19), it was that family and relationships really –– really –– matter. The simple fact is we should not take our relationships for granted. Time passes quickly at home, at work or even moments in time with strangers. Speak up. Speak out. Serve those around you.
In the utility business, we talk and talk and talk about safety because we work in a hazardous environment and shouldn't take chances or shortcuts. The day can end quickly. The best thing we can do is to be smart and act safe. It takes communication and planning. Team SEMO, the employees of SEMO Electric Cooperative and GoSEMO Fiber, has heard me say many times that when we work safe we save lives, relationships, time and finances. It's about being proactive. So, a couple of items for you to consider:
Summer is a time for many fun-filled activities with family and friends, but the season can also bring severe, dangerous weather. Talk to your loved ones about storm safety so that everyone is prepared and knows exactly what to do when a storm strikes. Many summer storms have the potential to produce tornadoes––they can happen anytime, anywhere, and can bring winds over 200 miles per hour. As adults, we understand the importance of storm safety, but younger children and teens may not realize the dangers storms pose. That’s why it’s so important to talk to your family and have a storm plan in place. Talk to your family about what to do in the event of a severe storm or tornado. Point out the safest location to shelter, like a small, interior, windowless room on the lowest level of your home. Discuss the dangers of severe thunderstorms. Remember: when you hear thunder roar, head indoors.
August is Back to School Safety Month. As a new school year begins with young drivers and school buses back on the road, it is a good time to remind folks, including myself, of the dangers of distracted driving. Distracted driving is considered any activity that diverts our attention from the road, including texting or talking on the phone, and adjusting the navigation or entertainment system. Sending or reading one text takes your eyes off the road for an average of five seconds. At 55 mph, that's like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. In addition to refraining from texting while driving, we can help keep the roads safe by moving over for first responders and other emergency vehicles. Additionally, if you see utility crews conducting work near the roadside, please move over when possible and give them extra space to perform their work safely. Be the example for your young riders. Show them how and explain why.
At SEMO Electric and GoSEMO, safety is foremost in everything we do –– for our employees and the members of the communities we serve. We do this so we can celebrate service anniversaries, birthdays and retirements at the Cooperative. Recently, we celebrated Terry Bunting's 35 years of service to the Cooperative and its member-owners. He is our longest-tenured staff person and is well-known in his service area and beyond. He, like us, would tell you that some days are better than others, but he shows up day after day to make service calls and restore power regardless of the weather. I am most proud of the fact he is still sharing stories to help his co-workers after more than 12,775 days and nights as a Cooperative employee. Relationships matter.
Book of the Month: “Sometimes the best conversations between strangers allow the stranger to remain a stranger. You believe someone not because you have no doubts about them. You believe someone because you don't have enough doubts about them.” Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
Be smart. Act safe. #keeppushingforward
Sean is the CEO/GM of SEMO Electric Cooperative and GoSEMO Fiber.