It's easy to take the convenience of electricity granted - but that mistake can be deadly.
Before learning why to keep your home safe, it's important to understand...
All about electricity
Do you remember these two scientific facts from your school days?
- Electricity flows easily through water.
- The human body is 70 percent water.
Put them together, and it adds up to a very dangerous situation for anyone who gets too close to an electrical current.
While everyone has been shocked by static electricity, coming in contact with an electrical current does more than make your hair stand on end:
- Muscle contractions lock the victim into the circuit.
- Chest muscles contract, causing difficulty breathing and unconsciousness.
- Heartbeat is interrupted and veins are constricted.
- Burns occur at the entrance and exit points of the current.
- Partial or total paralysis.
Keep in mind that it doesn't have to be “high-voltage” electricity - touching a bare wire on a string of holiday lights can be enough to cause heart damage.
Many people think if they are electrocuted, they can pull away and not get hurt. But electricity travels at the speed of light, so a victim has virtually no chance of pulling away without injury.
Safety devices like ground fault circuit interrupters - the outlets with the “test/reset” buttons - have made a big difference in reducing the incidence of household electrocutions.