Business, Community, Energy, Entertainment

FirstEnergy offers safety tips for holiday drone pilots, and a new drone safety video game

MORGANTOWN — With the expectation that people will give and receive drones for Christmas, Mon Power’s parent company FirstEnergy offered safety tips for folks getting ready to fly their new gifts.

FirstEnergy has also created a new online video game, Drone Safety Zone, to help drone pilots learn safety guidelines while participating in an obstacle-course drone race.

The free game can be found at Gamers can answer safety questions to get power boosts for flying their drones in a three-lap race. Racers can advance up a leader board with each round.

FirstEnergy said, “While drones can be safe when used correctly, flying them close to power lines, substations or other electrical equipment could cause serious damage and pose significant safety risks to you and other people nearby.”

The race course includes power hazards that zap and slow your drone if you don’t manage to avoid them.

Candace Webb, FirstEnergy public safety manager, said, “Drones have become a must-have gadget for the holidays because they can perform stunts, take photographs or even stream video. But like driving a car, there is an inherent responsibility that goes along with the activity to keep yourself safe and the power flowing reliably.”

FirstEnergy offers these tips and suggestions:

  • Become a licensed pilot before flying a drone.
  • Register a drone weighing more than a half pound with the Federal Aviation Administration.
  • Stay at least 200 feet away from power lines or other electrical equipment.
  • Fly your drone at or below 400 feet, and keep it at an altitude where it can be seen.
  • Do not fly in dark or windy conditions.
  • Never try to get your drone if it crashes on or near a downed line or substation. Call 888-LIGHTSS (888-544-4877) and a FirstEnergy employee will retrieve it safely.

Drone safety isn’t the only thing to keep in mind for a harm-free holiday. FirstEnergy also offers a few tips on best practices for holiday decorations:

  • With time, Christmas trees continue to dry out, making them increasingly flammable. Trees decorated with holiday lights have an increased risk because they’re in direct contact with an electrical source. Check with your local community to find a recycling program through which to dispose of your tree early in the new year.
  • Always unplug decorations by using the gripping area. Pulling on the cord could damage the wire and present a shock or fire hazard.
  • As you take down holiday lights, inspect the wiring and discard any that have cracked, frayed or appear to have damaged wire insulation.
  • Label or store indoor decorations separate from those intended for outdoor use.

TWEET @DominionPostWV