Meter readers and field service personnel from Kissimmee Utility Authority are better trained to deal with nature’s most dangerous and venomous creatures, thanks to a day-long training course held last week at Orlando’s Gatorland theme park and wildlife preserve.
The hands-on training included classroom sessions as well as live demonstrations with spiders, scorpions, snakes and alligators. The utility employees also learned animal identification techniques as well as tips to avoid being stung or bitten.
“Each KUA meter reader walks approximately 100 miles per month,” said Ricky Johnson, KUA’s manager of support services. “That level of exposure to the outdoors ensures regular encounters with dangerous animals, reptiles and insects. This course has helped prepare them for these encounters.”
The training was conducted by Tim Williams, Gatorland’s resident alligator expert and “Dean of Alligator Wrestling.” Williams has more than 37 years experience in the alligator and snake business, and has appeared with his critters on shows such as Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Show with David Letterman, The Maury Povich Show and The Today Show.