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Utilities Urge Electrical Safety for Pokémon Go Players

Utilities Urge Electrical Safety for Pokémon Go Players

You may have already seen kids and adults playing: they are out walking on the sidewalks, phones out in front.

Several utilities across the nation have issued warnings to Pokemon Go players to stay away from substations and electrical lines. If you don't know by now, Pokemon Go is a popular game that allows players to capture, battle, and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon, who appear on device screens as though in the real world. It makes use of GPS and the camera of compatible devices.

You may have already seen kids and adults playing: they are out walking on the sidewalks, phones out in front, searching for the elusive virtual reality creatures. For the most part, gamers have been careful, but a few have wondered into danger. Reports of a girl being hit by a vehicle in the street and people being robbed in a not-so-safe area have hit the news.

Utilities are feeling the need to warn people playing the game to stay away from dangerous, electrical areas. North Carolina's Electric Cooperatives released a statement reminding players to stay far away from power plants, electric substations and other electric equipment.

"We know you want to #CatchEmAll, but always do so at a safe distance from electric substations and other electric equipment," said Nelle Hotchkiss, senior vice president of corporate relations for North Carolina's Electric Cooperatives. "Entering an electric substation is both a crime and incredibly dangerous, and members of the public should never attempt to gain access for any reason. Another capture is not worth the risk of serious injury."

The electric cooperatives urge parents of children who play the game to talk to them about how to be safe around electricity, and to always heed all instructions on signs and warnings related to electric equipment.

The Edison Electric Institute has shared tweets from several utilities that warn Pokemon Go users to steer clear of substations and power line.

"Electrical equipment is very dangerous and not to be considered gaming locations," AEP Ohio said. "AEP Ohio urges gamers, its customers and the public to stay away from substations, all power lines and equipment on utility poles and underground electrical facilities commonly identifiable as those green boxes in neighborhood yards. Never attempt to enter substations or climb company poles to try and reach transformers. Serious injury or death can occur."

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