When kids on the Robotics Team at Union Middle School in Dysart needed to choose a research topic as half of their entry in the FIRST® LEGO® League 2013 Challenge, themed Nature’s Fury, ice storms was a natural topic choice, and one ECI REC personnel are especially qualified to discuss.
“When I was asked to talk to the kids, I immediately knew we’d have a lot to offer after our experiences with several ice storms since 1975, such as the 2007 ice storm and the 2011 Derecho in Benton County,” said Operations Manager Gary Marlow. Gary, along with Lineman Pat Hyland, who offered in-field perspective, spoke with the Robotics Team on October 29.
Gary and Pat reviewed what weather conditions had to be present to create an ice storm and the impacts such an event can have on a distribution system. When the kids asked what cooperatives like ECI REC are doing to prevent the major damages should another ice storm occur, Gary and Pat talked about installing bigger poles with closer pole spacing and converting to heavier, more updated hardware, conductor, and equipment. “They also wanted to know what they could do to prepare in their homes, and we discussed backup power such as generators.”
The Robotics Team presents its finished project and robot game (shown in photo) at regional competition, with the potential to move on to state, national, and world events.