Mitchell – Emergency responders are usually the first to arrive on the scene of an accident or fire, so they face a greater risk of encountering electrical hazards such as damaged equipment or downed power lines. 

In an effort to protect and educate area first responders, Central Electric Cooperative offered free electrical safety training at their headquarters west of Mitchell on April 24. Attendees included firefighters and emergency medical technicians (EMTs). The annual training event helps improve safety and bridge the gap between first responders and electric cooperative personnel. 

During the training, Central Electric’s Manager of Operations Brian Bultje showed common examples of electrical meters and provided guidance on protocols for disconnecting power during an emergency. 

“One key point to remember is that emergency personnel should try to notify the electric utility as soon as possible,” Bultje said. “When there’s a structure fire, power will typically need to be disconnected, and we don’t have the luxury of driving with lights and sirens.” 

Bultje added, “Pulling the meter does not guarantee the power is off. Take that extra step and call us so we can dispatch crews and keep everyone safe.” 

Electrician Rodney Weber answered questions about fires involving solar panels, and independent instructor Brian Baldwin guided participants through a hands-on bucket truck rescue. The training ended with a high-voltage safety demonstration led by Line Superintendent Dusty Roskens to show the damage electricity can cause. 

Participating organizations included the Woonsocket T&C Fire District, Fedora Volunteer Fire Department, Canova Volunteer Fire Department, Carthage Ambulance, Chamberlain/Oacoma Fire Department, Crow Creek Sioux Ambulance, Grass Ranch Colony Fire Department, Kimball Fire Department and Ambulance Service, Mitchell Fire Department, Plankinton Volunteer Fire Department, Rosedale Colony Fire Department, Spencer Volunteer Fire Department, Stickney Volunteer Fire Department, and White Lake Ambulance. 

By the end of the three-hour training, attendees gained insight and knowledge to keep themselves and others safe during emergencies.

…See a picture in this week’s issue of the Sanborn Weekly Journal!

FedorA – Central Electric Cooperative recently awarded $1,500 to the Fedora Fire Department for grain bin rescue equipment through Operation Round-Up.

Operation Round-Up is a voluntary program in which Central Electric members round up their monthly statement to the next dollar, and the extra cents accumulate to support area projects. Many cooperative employees also contribute through payroll.

Fedora Fire Chief Adam North explained, “The high-angle rope rescue kit can be used for farm incidents, such as grain bin rescues. The kit comes with two ropes, one for the primary rescuer and one to secure the patient and stop them from sinking down any further.” 

“It will also benefit neighboring fire departments when we provide mutual aid,” North said. 

Tami Moore represents Miner County and Dawna VanOverschelde represents Sanborn County on the Operation Round-Up board of trustees. They both voted in favor of the grant, knowing it could potentially save lives in the area. 

Since 2015, Central Electric members and employees have invested approximately $185,000 to support projects in the cooperative’s eight-county footprint, which includes Aurora, Brule, Buffalo, Davison, Hanson, Jerauld, Miner and Sanborn Counties.

The next Operation Round-Up grant application deadline is Nov. 1. For more information about the program, contact Central Electric Cooperative at 1-800-477-2892 or visit www.centralec.coop/operation-round-up.

…See a picture in this week’s issue of the Sanborn Weekly Journal!

On Sunday, July 16, members of the Sanborn County Sheriff’s Office helped in a high-speed chase of a suspect in a dark-colored Ford Edge traveling west on Highway 34 in Miner County. Eventually, the car chase ended and became a search when the driver and his passenger abandoned the vehicle on a road north of Fedora and started traveling on foot.

Sanborn County’s Sheriff’s Office helped officials from Miner County, McCook County, Hanson County, Davison County and the South Dakota Highway Patrol in search of the driver, Ezra Richardson, 26, of Chamberlain who had warrants out for his arrest for previous crimes of grand theft, drug violations and violating parole. Officials were trying to stop him for speeding, and then the chase ensued. The search had been called off twice in the night, but then started again due to a sighting of the suspect. Along with a great deal of manpower, two drones were used to try to find Richardson, with no luck.

On the morning of Monday, July 17, Sanborn County Sheriff Tom Fridley found the passenger of the vehicle, the 22-year-old brother of Richardson, walking on Highway 34. He was apprehended and was released to family, as he had no warrants out on him and had not committed any crimes since he wasn’t driving.

Richardson was found and apprehended by the Miner County Sheriff’s Office a couple hours later, at approximately 10:30 a.m. Monday morning, in the area of the corner of Highway 34 and 417th St. There were no injuries reported and no further charges reported at this time. 

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