LAKELAND, Fla. (WTSP) -- Gilbert Santiago wears gloves and a hard hat with a shield for his face so when he's working on an electric meter, he's protected from sparks or electric shock. However, that's not what worries him and other Lakeland Electric employees when they're in the field.
“Since I've been here, the biggest threat I've encountered is vicious dogs,” Santiago said.
Just a few months ago, a Lakeland Electric worker went to a home to shut off its power when an aggressive pit bull attacked her. She feared for her life until a Polk County deputy shot and killed it.
That's why Lakeland Electric brought in trainers to teach its employees what to do if a dog attacks. One takeaway is if it's going to bite, turn sideways so it doesn't go for major blood vessels in your arms and legs.
“Generally, they're going to bite the first thing they come to,” Lane Dorminy, manager of field services for the utility, said. “If you get bit by the legs and they take you down, you're in trouble at that point.”
Since the attack, Lakeland Electric also added new technology in some meters to keep employees away from vicious dogs in the first place.
They can cut power to some homes remotely with the click of a button. They're installing these types of meters at houses with dogs they know are aggressive.
“We're able to do it from the office, and it removes us from the danger,” Dorminy said.