May 2014

Co-op’s 77th Annual Meeting

Happy 77th Birthday to SEMO Electric Cooperative! If you are member-owner of SEMO Electric, please attend the co-op’s annual meeting on Thursday, May 29 at the Sikeston Field House. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. The business meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Barry Hart, executive vice president of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, will provide insights into the world of electricity and Co-op Nation.  See you there.

Keep Water Recreation Safe

It is a family’s nightmare. An enjoyable summer day of swimming—with kids wearing life jackets and their mom closely supervising—turns tragic when a little boy is killed amidst the fun in the marina. This is a reality the Ritz family has to live with as they seek to teach others about the hidden danger that claimed eight-year-old Lucas.

“Recognizing that his life jacket was on, I’m puzzled as to why he is apparently unconscious,” his father, Kevin, recalls. “First thing I do is check for respiration, and I didn’t detect anything. Then I check for heartbeat…couldn’t detect any…hoping that I’m doing this wrong.” Neither Kevin nor the paramedics were able to revive Lucas. As Kevin sought to understand what killed his son, he discovered that a boat plugged into shore power was leaking electricity into the marina water. Lucas was killed as he swam into energized water.

Equally tragic, fatal accidents like this happen each year, due what is called electric shock drowning (ESD). Working with Safe Electricity’s “Teach Learn Care TLC” program, the Ritz family wants everyone to learn about this silent killer and the steps they should take to stay safe.

If you are in the water and feel electric current, shout to let others know. Try to stay upright and tuck your legs up, making yourself smaller, and swim away from anything that could be energized. Do not head for a ladder on a boat or dock.

If you are on the dock or shore when a swimmer feels electrical current, do not jump in. Throw them a float, turn off the shore power connection at the meter base, and/or unplug shore power cords. Try to eliminate the source of electricity as quickly as possible; then call for help.

“Have dock systems (and pool decks) inspected each year and make sure ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) breakers are installed on all circuits feeding electricity to the dock,” Kevin recommends. “Have all metal bonded and grounded back to the source.” A video with more information on Lucas’ story can be found at

Employee and Public Safety

On behalf of SEMO Electric’s member-owners, directors and employees, I recently accepted a Certificate of Safety Achievement from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).  The certificate nationally recognizes SEMO Electric’s dedication to employee and public safety and commitment to regulatory compliance and loss control practices. NRECA’s Rural Electric Safety Achievement Program (RESAP) includes on-site inspections and random safety audits to measure SEMO Electric’s commitment to safety.  Safety is, and will continue to be, foundational to the co-op’s ability to provide safe, reliable and affordable electricity. Thank you to those who make safety a priority in their home, on their farm and at their business.

Be smart. Act safe.

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