The state legislature is being asked again this year to require changes aimed at preventing electrocution-related deaths at the Lake of the Ozarks.
On July 4, 2012 13 year-old Alexandra Anderson and her eight-year-old brother Brayden of Ashland died after being shocked by power running to a dock they were swimming near on the Lake of the Ozarks.
Columbia representative Caleb Jones is sponsoring a bill in their name that would require all docks to have a ground fault interrupter – devices to shut off electricity to a dock when there’s a short.
“If their dock does have an electrical issue then the people that are not only on the dock but also around the dock are protected from getting hurt,” said Jones of the use of GFIs.
Jones’ bill would also require defibrillators on Highway Patrol boats. The children’s mother believes if those were already required her children could have been saved, and Jones says he’s heard similar things from other people.
“Anybody that’s around water and electricity at the same time, potentially being harmed by being electrocuted should have access to that whenever emergency personnel arrives,” said Jones.
Angela Anderson, the mother of Alexandra and Brayden, wants Missouri to certify electricians – she says that would have made a difference in dock inspections. Jones’ bill doesn’t do that.
“I don’t think this addresses all the problems that we’re facing in this area but I think this piece of legislation is certainly a good step forward,” said Jones. “I look forward to continuing to discuss the issues and if more legislation needs to be filed and passed to fix this I plan on doing it.”
Jones says he’s talked to leadership about moving this legislation this year. Last year it did not receive a committee hearing.
“I think everybody wants to make sure that this doesn’t ever happen again and have been very open and willing to try and move legislation forward,” said Jones. “I think that it’s going to get a lot of traction this year and I really think it’s going to pass.”