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 and $140,000 has been awarded to winning schools since the contest’s inception. The first-place comic strip will be featured in a BGE natural gas safety advertisement in the spring.
“Educating our customers, especially children, on how to remain safe around natural gas is a priority for BGE,” said Christopher Burton, vice president of Gas Distribution, BGE. “BGE’s natural gas safety contest taps into children’s creativity to help them remember important gas safety messages that will benefit their schools, families and communities.”
Captain Mercaptan teaches kids how to recognize a natural gas leak and what steps to take when they 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 during BGE’s first “The Adventures of Captain Mercaptan” contest.
“We are so excited about this award!” said Fountain Green Elementary School Principal Alison Donnelly. “To be the first Harford County school to earn the top prize in this contest is truly an accomplishment, and I could not be prouder. We always talk about educating the whole child, and this goes to show that the daily lessons in all subject areas, including fine arts, are important and applicable. We are grateful for the monetary award, which will be used to purchase laptops to continue to prepare our students to be digital citizens.”
Twelve area schools submitted 40 drawings and descriptions of Captain Mercaptan before public voting and a panel of judges selected the winners. Nearly 25,000 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, Fountain Green Elementary School, Bel Air, MD
· $5,000 BGE Hero Award, Perry Hall Christian School, Perry Hall, MD
· $5,000 BGE Hero Award, St. Stephen School, Kingsville, MD
· $5,000 BGE Hero Award, North Bend Elementary School, Jarrettsville, MD
· $5,000 BGE Hero Award, Immaculate Conception School, Towson, MD
· $5,000 BGE Hero Award, St. Joseph School, Fullerton, MD
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.