Electric Safety and You

Why should you be concerned about electric safety? Unfortunately, when electricity is misused serious injury or even death can be the result. Even a small nightlight with a 6-watt bulb draws enough current to be fatal under certain circumstances.

Following is information to help you better understand how electricity works and why you should always exercise caution around it.

• Electrical current will not flow unless it has a complete path (circuit) that returns to its source (battery, transformer).

• Current flows through you and other conductors, such as metals, earth and concrete.

• Current can harm you when it flows through your body (electric shock).

• Insulators resist the flow of electricity. Insulating materials are used to coat copper conducting wires and are used to make electrical work gloves. Insulators help protect humans from coming into contact with electricity flowing through conductors.

• Just as there is pressure in a water pipe even with no water flowing, there is voltage at a receptacle even if current is not flowing. The electric current is essentially waiting for an opportunity to flow—to power an appliance or turn on the TV. But given the chance, it will just as quickly pass through you.

If current passes through your body, three types of injury are likely to occur:

1. Burns.

2. Physical injuries (broken bones, falls and muscle damage). When electrocution occurs, muscles often clamp on to whatever the person is holding.

3. Nervous system effects (stop breathing, heart twitching or stopping).

The heart is often damaged because it is in the path of the most common routes electricity takes through the body:

• Hand to hand

• Hand to foot

Your electric co-op encourages you to stay safe around electricity.

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