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"Pokemon Go" Interactive Game Poses Safety Threat

July 14, 2016
Washington Electric Cooperative issued a warning today regarding the hazards posed by the popular “Pokemon Go” interactive game, which encourages players to collect, battle, track, and capture Pokemon characters, in real-world settings. In particular, gamers are challenged to go to specific locations to catch Pokemon, including sites such as electric substations.
Washington Electric General Manager Jack Bragg, Jr., warns people to steer clear of substations, transformers, poles, and utility equipment. “Instruments and facilities used for the generation and transmission of electricity pose very real safety threats,” Bragg said. “Climbing a utility pole or a fence surrounding a substation is not only trespassing, it’s just plain dangerous. Serious injury, or worse, is a likely result. Poles, substations, and transformers are for processing electricity—not for playing games.”
The National Safety Council (NSC) released a statement on July 12 to alert the public to the fact that a number of injuries have resulted from people who play without regard to basic safety measures, as the game can cause distraction to pedestrians and drivers alike.
The Council urges people to consider their safety over their scores. Some utilities have reported gamers “tailgating,” or following employees who have swiped an access card, into power plants, so co-op staff members are asked to remain vigilant, as well. In all cases of tailgating or distraction, call 911 and Washington Electric Cooperative at (740) 373-2141.
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