Is there a snake in your boot?

Many CPS Energy employees wear boots and other personal protective equipment to stay safe on the job, but the most important safety tool in anyone’s belt is situational awareness. The best way to keep a snake out of your boots is to pay attention to your surroundings. Two CPS Energy employees demonstrated the value of paying attention on the job.

Recently, Journeyman Meterman John Luna and Apprentice Meterman Matthew Macias were testing and inspecting an electric meter here in San Antonio. While walking through some tall grass to get to the meter loop, John was looking down to ensure there were no hazards in his path when he stepped over something that looked like a snake. He immediately alerted Matthew, who was following, to step to the side.

After taking a closer look, the pair determined it was a coiled-up copperhead, one of the four common types of venomous snakes in our area. Fortunately, neither employee was bitten.

Not everyone works outdoors like many CPS Energy employees, but this incident serves as a good reminder for all of us to:

  • Be aware of our surroundings and evaluate hazards
  • Keep eyes on our path
  • Be cautious around areas with high brush and/or debris piles 

KSAT, a local television station, recently reported this is the time of year for snake sightings to “drastically increase” in our area.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Safety and energy-saving tips for hot weather

It may be easy to dismiss these warnings because “that’s just the way it is in Texas.” Being bitten by a snake, however, can be a life-threatening experience and something we should all avoid. Here are some facts to remember both on the job and at home:

  • The four common types of venomous snakes found in the San Antonio area are rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths, and coral snakes.
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife calls the western diamondback rattlesnake the most dangerous as it is generally larger, giving it larger venom glands and fangs. It is also more irritable.
  • If you cross paths with a snake, it is best to avoid it. The American Hiking Society says, “most bites occur when people get too close or try to touch or kill a snake.”
  • During these particularly hot times of the year, you are more likely to see a snake in the early morning or in the evening when it is not so hot.
  • Many people say a baby rattlesnake is more venomous than an adult, or that babies release more venom with each bite because they cannot control the release as well. According to Reptiles Magazine, neither of these are true: adult venomous snakes have more potent venom and release substantially more venom than their youthful counterparts.

CPS Energy talks to its employees every day about safety on the job, including snakes, but everyone should be aware of the risks and stay vigilant. The size of the snake should not matter. If you aren’t absolutely certain of the species, stay away … maybe stay away even if you do recognize it. This kind of safety is what keeps our employees like John and Matthew on the job, serving our customers. You can practice snake safety, too.

Pam Maris

Pam is part of the Corporate Communications team at CPS Energy.