|Safe Electricity Shares the Story of Lucas Ritz to Raise Electric Shock Drowning Awareness|
For Release: May 21, 2014
Contact: Kyla Kruse, 217-546-6815, firstname.lastname@example.org
More details, including photos and b-roll: www.safeelectricity.org/news-room
Safe Electricity Shares the Story of Lucas Ritz to Raise Electric Shock Drowning Awareness
(SPRINGFIELD, Ill.) -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 amid 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 8-year-old Lucas.
"One second he was splashing...having a great time, and the next moment he's quiet," says Lucas' father, Kevin Ritz. What was not visible was the electricity leaking into the water from a boat plugged in to shore power. Lucas was killed as he swam into the energized water.
May 17-23 is National Safe Boating Week and draws attention to the need to prepare for a safe season on the water. Working with Safe Electricity's "Teach Learn Care TLC" program, the Ritz family is taking this time to encourage everyone to learn how to avoid and prevent what is known as electric shock drowning (ESD). A video of Lucas' story is at SafeElectricity.org.
Kevin now works with the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) as an ABYC Master Marine Technician who trains certified technicians and others. He advises, "Never swim in a marina or around docks with power and boats that are plugged in; but, since people fall into the water in these areas, it's important they know how to react if electricity is in the water."
If you are in the water and feel electric current, shout to let others know, try to stay upright, and swim away from anything that could be energized. 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.
If you have a boat or dock, help prevent electrical accidents by inspecting and maintaining all electrical systems on or near the water. These measures are recommended for boats:
What you need to know about electrical safety and docks:
"Every time we have to go back and think about and talk about what happened, it's tough," says Lucas' mom, Sheryl Ritz, "but the reason that we do it is we keep tracking this stuff, and it's still happening. People don't know, and that was us 14 years ago."
Kevin adds, "You don't want this to happen to you....That hole will never be filled, and it's so simple to resolve."
Learn more and see Lucas' story at SafeElectricity.org.
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The Energy Education Council is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to promoting electrical safety and energy efficiency. Established in 1952, the Council is headquartered within the University of Illinois Extension, and serves as a forum for diverse utility and energy organizations to collaborate on the mutually vital issues of efficiency and safety. Learn more at www.EnergyEdCouncil.org.