Dog Bite Prevention Training Helps Meter Readers

Annual number of dog bites significantly reduced after company begins dog bite prevention training.

Posted: April 21, 2007, 5 a.m. EST

Commonwealth Edison Co. meter readers in the Chicago area have seen a 90 percent decrease in the number of dog bites as a result of improved safety policies and the type of training meter readers received from experts in dog bite prevention.

ComEd says the number of dog bites its meter readers have received has steadily dropped since 1998, when 125 incidents occurred. In 2006, the number was just 12.

Meter readers throughout ComEd’s service territory receive annual dog bite prevention training from experts in the field. Training sessions were held last week in Chicago, Joliet, Oak Brook and Rockford.

Training included live dog attack demonstrations to show meter readers what to do when a dog attacks. Meter readers were also taught how to avoid attacks, what makes dogs aggressive and how to use protective devices like dog spray and an umbrella.

When an umbrella is opened, it causes most dogs to pause, and it provides a safe zone between the dog and the meter reader.

New safety policies that ComEd has instituted since 1998 include making an umbrella required meter reading equipment and asking meter readers not to enter a property where a dog is outside, either leashed or unleashed. If meter readers see a dog outside while trying to read a meter, an attempt should be made to get the owner to bring the dog inside.

“Customers will provide a benefit to themselves and our meter readers if they have their dogs inside when we attempt to read the meters. We won’t read the meter if the dog is outside,” ComEd meter reading manager Bill Neutz said.

“As a result of the reduced number of incidents, our meter readers can accurately read more meters in a timely fashion. We also keep our costs as low as possible as a result of minimizing injuries and lost time in the field,” Neutz said.

Dogs are the most prevalent hazard meter readers face. Some readers can see over 100 dogs a day on their route, according to ComEd.


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Meter Reader   Anywhere, VA

9/15/2010 7:02:06 PM

Mr. Hernandez, your video possibly saved one of my employees' life. I run a meter reading contract and our safety coordinator found your video. I had all my readers watch it. About two weeks ago I had a meter reader walk around the corner of a house with no fence who was ambushed by a pit bull. She remembered not to jerk her arm away and because the pit bull jumped her and knocked her to the ground she had the presence of mind to keep her arm close to her body, get on top of the dog and use her free hand to grab the dog's windpipe and squeeze. The owner was only able to pry the dog off of her and free her arm when the dog finally gasped for air.

I thank you very much for providing that video free of charge. I'm sure you've helped save several lives by providing that video that way. My reader ended up with a bruise on her left ribcage and a fairly serious bite on her right arm that required twelve stitches to close. It could have been much worse if she had not remembered her

To the people in the comments section, David from Arkansas is completely right. When you sign up for that service (water, gas, etc.) you are allowing employees of that utility entry into your yard. It's called right of way and amounts to a temporary easement of your property rights. If you do not want to bring your dog inside, and I've had people flat out refuse to do that, you will have to live with your meter not being read and your bills being estimated. I am not going to risk the safety of one of my employees nor will I have any hesitation about backing their actions if they injure your dog while defending themselves regardless of if they are attacked in your yard or not.

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Hector Hernandez   Haslett, MI

1/18/2010 4:12:15 PM

My website has a free 20 minute video on Preparing Yourself for Dog Encounters.

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David   Harrison, AR

7/19/2009 12:20:51 PM

Home owners must be educated that the meter is the utility providers property and that by signing on to recieve that utility they provide that utility provider the right to access that meter at any time, dog or no dog, owners permission or not. If they don't want a reader in their yard they can opt to provide that utility for themselves. i.e. provide your own electricity or gas, etc. If that isn't an option for the owner they need to provide a clear path to the meter so that the reader doesn't have to deal with their dog(s).

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CJ   Kenosha, WI

6/4/2009 1:34:20 AM

Meter readers should have a propery owners permission before going into your yard.Dogs are protecting their territory when a stranger is on the property.

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