Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) has announced the kickoff of the 2016 “Adventures of Captain MercaptanSM, BGE Natural Gas Safety Hero Challenge.” The contest challenges elementary school students at schools in BGE’s service area to illustrate a gas safety message featuring Captain Mercaptan, BGE’s fictional natural gas safety superhero. The contest, now in its third year, awards $10,000 to the top school for a school enrichment project.
The submission phase is now open, running through March 24. Public and private elementary schools in BGE’s service area are encouraged to use the teacher’s guide at BGEGasHero.com to review gas safety concepts with kindergarten through fifth students, and begin creating their contest entries. Beginning April 4, entries will compete for votes during a two-week, online public voting period. The winning schools will be announced in early May. Last year’s winning entry was from St. Stephen School in Kingsville, Md. Overall, $35,000 was awarded by BGE to area schools as part of last year’s contest.
“BGE remains committed to maintaining a safe and reliable natural gas system and educating our customers about how to live and work safely around natural gas is vital,” said Christie McMullen, vice president of Gas Distribution, BGE. “Captain Mercaptan was designed by children for children and we are once again elated to announce the launch of this contest, which teaches important lessons in a fun and visual way.”
Schools are encouraged to download the online entry kit and read our comic book featuring Captain Mercaptan. In the comic book, Captain Mercaptan teaches kids how to recognize a natural gas leak and what steps to take when you smell gas. Captain Mercaptan’s name is derived from “mercaptan,” a safety additive that BGE and other utilities put in natural gas to give it a distinctive rotten egg odor that makes gas easier to detect. The super hero and his safety sidekicks were designed by elementary school students through a BGE contest.
Eligible schools will have an opportunity to win the following awards:
- BGE Captain’s Award – $10,000
- BGE Hero Award – $5,000 for winners in kindergarten through fifth grade (one winner per grade)
- BGE Spotlight Award (for the drawing with the most online votes) – BGE backpacks full of school supplies and safety gear
Captain Mercaptan teaches children that they can be a hero too if they follow these simple safety tips:
- Use your nose. Mercaptan is a safety scent that BGE puts in natural gas to give it a rotten egg smell.
- Use your ears. Listen for the hissing sound of escaping gas.
- Use your eyes. Look for dirt being blown into the air, dead plants or grass in otherwise green areas, fire coming from the ground or water bubbling and being blown into the air.
- If you detect natural gas, leave immediately.
- Don’t attempt to detect the source of the leak.
- Don’t use matches or turn anything on (including a cell phone).
- Find a safe place outside and call BGE or have an adult call 1.800.685.0123.
BGE traces its roots back to 1816 and the first gas utility in North America. Today the company provides safe, reliable natural gas service to more than 650,000 gas customers in central Maryland. Customers are reminded to immediately contact BGE at 1.800.685.0123 from a safe location if they have any questions or concerns about natural gas. For more information on the Captain Mercaptan contest, including future adventures, visit bgegashero.com. Gas safety tips are available at bge.com/CaptainMercaptan.