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Electricity: Stay Out of Its Path

 Electricity: Stay Out of Its Path

Understanding how electricity behaves can reinforce why you always should exercise caution around it. Even a small night light with a 6-watt bulb draws enough current to be fatal under certain circumstances. Take note:

  • Electrical current will not flow unless it has a complete path.
  • Current can flow through you and other conductors, such as metal, dirt and concrete.
  • Current can harm you when it flows through your body (electric shock).
  • 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 the TV. But given the chance, it will just as quickly pass through you.

If current passes through your body, you likely will be subjected to three types of injuries:

  1. Burns.
  2. Other bodily injuries: Muscles can be damaged and bones can break. When electric shock occurs, muscles often clamp on to whatever the person is holding.
  3. Nervous system effects: Breathing can stop and cardiac arrest can occur.

The heart often is damaged because it is in the path of the most common routes electricity takes through the body: Hand to hand and hand to foot.

Your electric cooperative encourages you to always stay safe around electricity.