FirstEnergy Drone Safety Game Takes Flight
Teens and tweens typically view drones as fun-to-use, exciting toys. With more youngsters taking to the skies, it is important they know that a drone is a real aircraft that may pose serious risks if used near power lines or other electrical equipment.
To help educate young pilots and their parents, FirstEnergy has teamed up with a game developer to create The Drone Safety Zone, a video game that teaches drone safety in a fun and exciting way.
“Flying a drone can be a lot of fun for kids but, just like driving a car, there is an inherent responsibility that goes along with the activity,” said Don Bernier, a member of FirstEnergy’s Drone Team. “The Drone Safety Zone is an engaging way for us to make sure young drone pilots are cleared for takeoff and achieve a safe landing.”
The video game – the first of its kind in the utility industry – allows players to customize their drone and race against time and ghost players in FirstEnergy’s virtual “Stop. Look. Live.” arena. As the player whizzes through the arena evading obstacles, flying through hoops and obtaining speed boosts, Max Safety – FirstEnergy’s fictional public safety campaign spokesperson – can be heard excitedly remarking on the player’s actions.
Before each race, players are met with a randomized drone safety question that highlights current rules or best practices for drone operators. The faster they answer this question correctly, the greater the boost advantage will be when the game starts, giving players a competitive edge so they can reach a higher rank on the game’s leaderboards.
As the game concludes, players are left with one last drone safety reminder from Max Safety and are encouraged to try again for a higher rank.“We hoped that using a non-traditional way to reach teens and tweens would help them retain what they learn in the game,” said Candy Webb, manager of public safety at FirstEnergy. “Our goal was to strike a balance between excitement and education, and that’s where the idea for a video game took flight.”
This innovative drone game is part of FirstEnergy’s recently launched educational outreach campaign that targets kids and their parents with ads related to safe drone operation across social media and digital channels.
"One of the most important lessons for operators is to never attempt to retrieve a drone if it gets caught in power lines or crashes into a utility pole or substation. Call FirstEnergy at 1-888-LIGHTSS and we'll get it back for you,” said Webb.
If you operate a drone, follow these tips to avoid dangerous contact with electric equipment:
STOP. Know where you are flying.
LOOK. Make sure there are no power lines or substations in the area.
LIVE. Accidents happen. Call FirstEnergy at 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) and we will safely retrieve your drone for you.
More tips on staying safe around electricity and near power lines and equipment are available on FirstEnergy's Stop. Look. Live. safety website at www.firstenergycorp.com/publicsafety.