Former Baltimore Colt Anthony “Bubba” Green pushes for legislative change regarding contact voltage in honor of his late daughter.
By Soren Baker
Anthony “Bubba” Green remembers the conversations with his daughter. When the former Baltimore Colts defensive tackle dropped Deanna off at school, he encouraged his daughter to be a blessing in someone’s life that day.
Deanna had her own plans as well.
“Deanna always told us that she was going to be famous,” Green says today. “That was one of her ultimate dreams. We thought it was going to be from her angelic voice. Little did we understand that it was going to be because she was going to save the life of people throughout the country and the world.”
Deanna was electrocuted in 2006 while warming up during a softball game at a park in the Druid Hill section of Baltimore. She was 14.
Green and his wife have since dedicated their lives to battling the problem of contact voltage, a condition where a power system feeds electricity to a surface that can be contacted by the general public. In older metropolitan areas such as Baltimore, aging underground and aboveground electrical distribution equipment is often concentrated in public areas, including parks and streets. Deanna, for instance, was
electrocuted when she touched a fence in the park where she was playing softball.
The Greens backed a bill that passed in Maryland in October 2011. Dubbed the Deanna C. Green Rule, it mandates that assets around recreation parks and facilities have to be tested for contact voltage.
Green and his wife are now pushing for a more stringent law that requires annual testing or mobile surveying for contact voltage throughout the City of Baltimore and the state of Maryland.
“What we want is for the city to work with us, and not just put a band-air over a bullet hole,” says Green, who adds that the problem is particularly dangerous because people cannot see it. “We want to make sure that the streets of Baltimore are not only safe from murderers or fire departments being closed. We want it to be safe from kids touching manhole covers, parking meters, stop signs and intersection
crossing buttons. All these things are electrified through contact voltage. People are still walking around the state of Maryland with the possibility of being electrically shocked or electrocuted because there’s no real testing going on.”
Green says that he prefers mobile surveying because that would detect every electrical problem. Manual surveying, by comparison, involves an electric company employee walking down a block and picking what they would want to test. Manual surveying would, by default, not be as effective as mobile surveying, he says.
“This is a fight that they chose to get into and we’re not going to quit,” Green says. “Our daughter’s legacy will remain across the country.”
Through the efforts of Green and his wife, contact voltage testing laws have been passed in Maryland and Rhode Island. Green says getting similar legislation passed in Washington, DC and Florida are next on his agenda. He says he hopes to work in two states a
year until the entire country has contact voltage testing legislation in effect.
The Greens set up Deanna’s Lyric Foundation (deannaslyric.org) to honor their daughter and provide more information regarding contact voltage.
Green says he is pushing so hard to spread awareness regarding contact voltage because he wants to prevent another family from suffering such a loss as he did.
“When you do these things, you have to work with your grief along with the rewards that you receive in helping other people’s children,” he says. “We had to forgive Baltimore City. I truly believe that if we didn’t forgive them, then we would have never gotten this far.”
Follow Soren Baker on Twitter @SorenBaker.