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Electrical Accident Survivor Urges Caution around Power Lines

For Release: August 13, 2012Shawn Miller at State Fair

Contact: Kyla Kruse, 217-546-6815

Electrical Accident Survivor Shares His Story at State Fair

Urges Caution around Power Lines

(SPRINGFIELD, IL)—On Aug. 14 and 15, Shawn Miller will present programs daily in the Energy Zone at the Illinois State Fair. He is urging people to use extreme caution around overhead power lines. Miller speaks from personal experience. Eight years ago, a routine outdoor activity took a tragic turn.

He had been hanging holiday lights in the trees that lined his mother's yard. As he tossed the lights up into the trees, 7200 volts of electricity entered his body, traveling from the overhead power lines through his strand of lights. His mother found her son on the ground with wisps of smoke coming from his body. Miller was unconscious and badly burned.

"Power lines were the last thing on my mind that day," says Miller. "I was just hanging Christmas lights at my Mom's house like I do every year, only this time, I was decorating a new area, the trees that lined the front of the yard." Although Miller suffered 27 exit wounds as well as the loss of his left hand and a finger on his right hand, his survival was miraculous.

"After something life-changing happens, you become more interested and learn much more," Miller said. "Had I known more before this happened, I might still have two hands and the job I loved. I want to help people learn from what has happened to me. Safe Electricity is helping me help others."

Safe Electricity and Miller encourage people to spend time making themselves aware of their surroundings before working with or around items that use electricity-indoors and out.

"Shawn Miller has a lot to teach us about electrical safety and we are grateful he is sharing his story with others during the Illinois State Fair," says Molly Hall, Executive Director of the Safe Electricity program. "We want people to learn from his tragic experience and care enough to share it with those they love."

"I'm lucky to be alive," Miller adds. "I want everyone to be careful, be aware of power lines."

Miller will be speaking with audiences four times each day-at 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4:00 p.m., and 5:30 p.m.-on Tuesday, Aug. 14 and Wednesday, Aug. 15.

The Energy Zone is a new feature of this year's state fair that showcases "safe, smart, clean, and green" energy. It showcases the safe and efficient use of energy as well as renewable energy sources-such as solar, wind, and geothermal-in Illinois. The Energy Zone provides free, energy-saving and life-saving displays, programs, giveaways, and more. It is located near the corner of Central Ave. and Main St. on the Emerson Building's west lawn.

For more information on electrical safety and to learn more about Miller's compelling story, visit 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.