The Public Utility Commission Friday encouraged Pokémon Go players across Pennsylvania to always be aware of their location and surroundings – including utility infrastructure, such as water towers and reservoirs; along with power plants, electric substations, power lines and other similar facilities.
Some players focused on the new augmented reality game may wander too close to secure utility facilities, either accidentally – because they are focused intently on the game – or because they believe that some elusive Pokémon might be found there.
Additionally, the location of some Pokémon “gyms”, where players gather to virtually battle other players, could also generate concerns around utility property that is considered critical infrastructure – triggering calls to security services or police.
The Commission also urges players to avoid trespassing on railroad tracks or playing the game in other potentially hazardous locations.
The Commission offered the following tips for safety around utility property:
-- Respect warning signs – they are there for your protection and to safeguard utility systems;
-- Do not attempt to climb poles or fences around utility property;
-- Never touch or reach for power lines or other utility equipment; and
-- Stay at least 10 feet away from any power lines – and don’t touch trees or other objects that are closer than 10 feet to any power line.
The Commission encourages caution around all utility infrastructure, whether people are playing a game, working around the house or on the job –noting that every year a number of Pennsylvanians are killed or seriously injured by accidental encounters with electric power lines around their homes or workplaces.
There have been scattered reports across Pennsylvania, and across the country, of players trespassing in various locations or being injured by falls or encounters with traffic.For other general Pokémon safety tips, players are encouraged to review the community awareness bulletin issued by the Pennsylvania State Police.