Danger: Pokemon Go players warned to stay out of power plants
SAN FRANCISCO — Power plants, substations and electric equipment might not harm Pokémon, but people are a different story.
Released July 6, Pokémon Go is now the most popular mobile game in U.S. history and has more daily users than Twitter. The interactive game encourages players to collect, battle, track and capture Pokémon characters in real-world settings.
Across the country, there are reports of Pokémon Go leading players into dangerous situations, prompting safety warnings from numerous law enforcement agencies.
In San Diego, two men were hospitalized after falling from a cliff above a beach when they became distracted playing the game. A slew of trespassing incidents have been linked to the game.
Recently, three teenagers were stopped at a nuclear plant in Ohio when they trespassed on the site in pursuit of Pokémon characters. Other utilities have reported gamers “tailgating,” or following employees who have swiped an access card, into power plants.
Electric utilities cannot control where the Pokémon appear, so it’s important for players to remain aware of their surroundings and steer clear of electric and gas equipment.
With the Pokémon Go craze in full swing, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) urges players to exercise caution and be sure to catch their Pokémon at a safe distance from electric and gas facilities and equipment.
“Just because Pokémon shows up in a restricted area containing high-voltage equipment, doesn’t mean you can. PG&E reminds customers that its electric and gas equipment is off limits to the public. Climbing a pole or hopping a substation fence is not only trespassing, it’s also dangerous. If you’re playing Pokémon Go, put safety before your quest to ‘catch ‘em all,’” said Jason Regan, director, PG&E Emergency Management.
PG&E also encourages parents of children who play the game to talk to them about how to be safe around electricity:
- Keep a safe distance from power lines, transformers, substations and electric work sites.
- Do not climb power poles or throw things into power lines.
- Never attempt to retrieve any type of balloon, kite or toy that becomes caught in a power line. Leave it alone, and immediately call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 to report the problem.
- Never jump on, sit on, kick, or stick anything inside a transformer.
- Never go near a power line that has fallen to the ground or is dangling in the air. Always assume downed electric lines are energized and extremely dangerous. Stay far away, keep others away and immediately call 911 to alert the police and fire departments.
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