Many of those who are in or around water daily for enjoyment or work may not know the dangers of electric shock drowning. With proper safeguarding equipment, you can keep yourself and others safe in or around water.
Research has shown that many electric shock drowning cases occur in the water near marinas, docks, boating marinas, and home swimming pools or hot tubs due to improperly installed electrical equipment.
What is Electric Shock Drowning?
Electric Shock Drowning, or ESD, is a term generally used when a person, unfortunately, dies in the water from being exposed to one or more electric currents. When the current travels through the body, it can cause the skeletal muscles to become paralyzed, making it impossible for the victim to help themselves, thus resulting in a fatality by drowning.
Common Causes of Electric Shock Drowning
Electric Shock Drowning can be caused in many different ways, which is why taking proper precautions is so important. Common causes for ESD can include:
- Lighting in the pool or hot tub can be a big concern when the electrical equipment is not properly installed or maintained. Be sure to look for any lights that may be flickering or not working properly.
- Be sure that the pool or hot tub is at least 25 feet from any power lines. The lights installed in the pool or spa are not required to be in the “ON” position to shock someone who is in the water. Electrical currents can flow through the water even when the light is off.
- Improperly installed electrical equipment in the pool can shock or potentially kill a swimmer quickly as the stray voltage and electrical current travel through numerous elements that are installed in the pool. A qualified professional electrician should inspect personal pools and spas at least once per year to ensure proper safety.
- Electronics falling into the pool can be just as dangerous as them falling into the bathtub while you are in it. Be sure to keep radios, lights, electrical plugs, or any sort of item with an electrical current at least 6 feet away from the pool or spa.
Marinas or boat docks tend to have lots of electricity flowing through or near the area and water. Be sure to never swim in or around a marina or boat dock, and remain at least 50 yards away. The electricity that enters the water is caused by the wiring of the dock and the dock or marinas shore power.
How to Prevent ESD
By installing GFCIs at least 20 feet from the water's edge, electrocution can be prevented. GFCI, or ground fault circuit interrupter, protects people in or on the water from collecting electrical shocks caused by faulty wiring or improper installments.
Another safety installment is equipotential bonding. This can be used to avoid equipment damage and personal injury or fatality. Equipotential bonding occurs when all metalwork and conductive components are connected to a grounding system, ensuring that the components all have the same flow of energy.
To learn more about how to avoid ESD with proper safeguarding equipment, call us today at (919) 781-3411.