Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) announced Windsor Farm Elementary School as the winner of the “Adventures of Captain Mercaptan,” BGE Natural Gas Safety Hero Challenge. The annual contest challenges public and private elementary school students at schools in BGE’s service area to illustrate gas safety messages featuring Captain Mercaptan, BGE’s fictional natural gas safety superhero, for a chance to win up to $10,000 towards a school enrichment project. Overall, $35,000 is being awarded by BGE to winning schools. The first place image will be featured in a BGE natural gas safety advertisement in the spring.
“The safety of BGE’s customers and employees is our first priority and something that we focus on each and every day in both field and office settings,” said Christie McMullen, vice president of Gas Distribution, BGE. “Teaching children about natural gas safety in a creative and interactive way makes them more likely to remember the important messages and has a lasting impact on winning schools, which receive financial support for school enrichment programs.”
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,” an additive to natural gas used by BGE and other utilities to give it a distinctive rotten egg odor that makes gas easier to detect. The superhero and his safety sidekicks, Sunny and Piper, were designed by elementary school students through the BGE Natural Gas Safety Hero Challenge.
Area schools submitted 40 drawings and descriptions of Captain Mercaptan before public voting and a panel of judges selected the winners. More than 71,000 votes were cast online at bgegashero.com. In addition to the first place winning prize, a top entry was chosen for each grade level, kindergarten through fifth grade. The winning schools were:
- $10,000 Captain’s Choice Award and BGE Hero Award, Windsor Farm Elementary School, Annapolis, MD
- $5,000 BGE Hero Award, Fallstaff Elementary/Middle School, Baltimore, MD
- $5,000 BGE Hero Award, Jarrettsville Elementary School, Jarrettsville, MD
- $5,000 BGE Hero Award, Our Lady of Mount Carmel School, Essex, MD
- $5,000 BGE Hero Award, North Bend Elementary School, Jarrettsville, MD
- $5,000 BGE Hero Award, Perry Hall Christian School, Perry Hall, MD
Windsor Farm Elementary School, which took the top prize and the top fifth grade class entry, plans to use the funding towards the purchase of Google Chromebooks and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities.
Children can be a hero like Captain Mercaptan by following these simple safety tips:
- Use your nose. Mercaptan is an odor that BGE adds to 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 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.