Looking Scared

Complex impedance
My ground fault connection
Lowered resistance
Too late for correction
As I kiss the sun’s surface
Suffer a fate worse than Icarus
For I lived

I know a lot of semi-useless stuff. I’m killer at Trivial Pursuit because of it. I just attended a presentation on NFPA 70E (Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace) as part of my safety training for work. This standard focuses on safety and prevention of electrical shock, electrocution, arc flash and arc blast. So what is the big deal? Well, complacency is the big deal. We use electricity all the time for so many different things and we don’t understand the nature of this “beast”! If you do anything today let it be an inspection of your electrical cords. Look for cuts or frayed areas. Check to see if the insulation is intact and there is no damage to the plug or prongs. If the cord is damaged stop using that item! Do you hear me? STOP USING THAT CORD! Either throw it away or have it replaced. It won’t happen to me is a lie we tell ourselves. It could very well happen to you or me or that grandchild that is crawling around on the carpet and behind the chair.

The above poem is a commentary on the phenomenon of arc flash which is defined as: When an uncontrolled arc forms at high voltages, and especially where large supply-wires or high-amperage conductors are used, arc flashes can produce deafening noises, supersonic concussive-forces, super-heated shrapnel, temperatures far greater than the Sun’s surface, and intense, high-energy radiation capable of vaporizing nearby materials. Most people wouldn’t experience an arc flash or arc blast (specifically the supersonic shockwave produced). Most people. How many times did your mother intone that you “weren’t most people”? I was tempted to post some of the photos of the survivors but they are pretty horrific. As they said in the presentation, the unlucky survive. These are the people who have lost one or both eyes, have hearing loss, burns that resulted in scaring and loss of flexibility, not to mention the loss of arms and legs, ears and noses, and sometimes even more… I’m going to make Sparky throw out the outdoor extension cord that he has spliced and taped in 10 places. I love him too much to take the chance!

6 thoughts on “Looking Scared

  1. The wires I check are going to the heating pads I use. Getting behind the computer or even under it to check those wires is impossible for me.

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    1. The wires/cords that are most likely to be damaged are the ones you plug in and take out all the time. Pretty sure your computer cords are in good condition… unlike my husband and the outside extention cord that he has run over with the mower a couple of times!

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  2. I keep a close eye on all wires and cords, and no cracked outlet cover goes unreplaced. When I was an undergraduate at UMass-Amherst, a workman was under my work station, repairing an outlet and there was an arc burst. He was momentarily stunned, but came out from under the table and was able to stand up, after a few minutes. I wanted to call the RA, but the man insisted he was okay and was able to walk out of the building, unaided. It still sticks in my memory, as one of the scariest moments of my life.

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