For many, Labor Day means enjoying the last few summer or summer-like weekends at the lake. Dixie Electric, Plumbing & Air, your experts on fire and electrical safety, wants to make sure you stay safe by reminding you about the dangers of electric shock drowning or ESD. Recently, two women died in Lake Tuscaloosa.
It usually happens near docks or marinas with electrical service. ESD is referred to as a silent killer. There are no warning signs when water is energized with electricity. It can even happen after the victim is in the water. Another name for it is boat dock electrocution, but many times the victim is not electrocuted. Instead, he or she is paralyzed by the current and drowns. Even after an autopsy, many deaths are called unexplained drownings blamed on cramps or alcohol use because the electricity leaves no evidence.
When do you need to worry about electric shock? The answer is simple – ALWAYS! Because electricity is “lazy” and looks for the easiest source to travel, even if you are in the water not near anything powered, you could still be at risk. A recent death occurred when a home on the water had a water heater in their basement that was not properly grounded, and the electricity traveled thru the ground into the water causing electric shock with no warning. Something like a floating warning device is highly recommended to first check the safety anytime you are swimming in water where a permanent alert system has not been installed.
If you have a submersible pump, or the electrical service on your dock or swimming pool has not been recently inspected, it’s imperative you call us. It’s the only way to assure the safety of your family and any guests. Additionally, Dixie Electric, Plumbing & Air can install the Dock Lifeguard warning system. It gives a visual and audio warning when it detects electricity in the water.
According to the Atlanta-Based Centers for Disease Control, about 3,000 people drown every year. There’s no way of knowing how many are cases of ESD. A non-profit group is dedicated to preventing the tragedy and the Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association (ESDPA) has a website to educate and prevent ESD. The group strongly discourages swimming wherever electricity is present. In fact, the ESDPA would like to see swimming prohibited around boats, docks, and marinas using electricity. If you are going to go into the water, follow these safety tips:
- Swim at least 50 yards from any electrical source
- If you feel tingling swim away do not go towards the dock or boat
- Warn others in the area
- At the first sign get out of the water if you are able to
- Shut off power
When Dixie Electric, Plumbing & Air added plumbing services in 2012, we coined the phrase electricity and water do mix, but only because we have highly trained professionals who can work on your electrical and plumbing systems. In the real world, electricity near water can be a deadly combination. On this Labor Day weekend and going forward, make sure you share this warning about electric shock drowning with your friends and neighbors. You may be saving a life.