Bakersfield: PG&E Takes Pride in Being a Community Helper

By Katie Allen

Preschoolers naturally think of nurses or police officers as community helpers. But a group of children in Bakersfield recently got to experience how PG&E troublemen help their communities, too.


PG&E’s Jason Payne helps a student inside the bucket of his truck. (Photos by Katie Allen.)

Each February during National Electrical Safety Month, the Oaks Children’s Center Preschool in Bakersfield partners with local first responders and other professionals to show students what they do on the job.

For the second year in a row, PG&E taught almost a hundred preschoolers the basic principles of electricity and how to stay safe in several 30-minute demonstrations.

“Who woke up and turned on their lights this morning?” asked troubleman Jason Payne. Dozens of hands shot up.

Payne explained the importance of electricity, which didn’t seem to connect with a few of the kids, until he asked who likes to watch a tablet or television? They all quickly agreed electricity is very important.

Payne also shared safety tips including never sticking their fingers or toys into electrical outlets or flying kites near electric lines. One boy chimed in, “You don’t want to be electrocuted.” Payne agreed by stating what a marvelous invention electricity is, but how it can also be dangerous.


This preschooler gets to see what it’s like to wear a safety vest and hard hat.

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation, about seven children are treated in emergency rooms each day in the United States for injuries related to playing with electrical outlets. That’s why this type of community outreach conducted by PG&E is so essential to ensure children stay safe.

Next, the students were given a chance to climb inside Payne’s bucket truck and try on safety gear including hard hats, rubber gloves, and safety vests. Payne explained nothing is more important than safety when restoring or repairing power lines.

To further show the students how the truck works, Payne lowered the bucket and took it high into the sky. The students loved seeing how the bucket worked and watching it inch closer to the clouds.

Once he was back on solid ground, the students gave Payne hugs, waved goodbye, and watched him climb back into the big blue truck. Payne headed off to his next assignment as a community helper — keeping the lights on for these kids, their families and neighbors in Kern County.

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