May 23, 2016

Electric Shock Drowning - a rare but serious issue in the Carolinas because of fresh water lakes surrounding Charlotte.

Recently, there was a case of electric shock drowning in Alabama. This tragic event occurs when a boat or marina dock leaks electricity into a fresh water body where swimmers can be exposed. The electricity conducts through their body causing muscle paralysis and drowning.

Science: Fresh water is a poor conductor of electricity, which will travel the path of least resistance. Unfortunately, the salt in our bodies acts as an excellent conductor. The electric shock runs through our bodies and stuns us causing drowning or with enough current, a cardiac arrest.

If you have a boat, boat dock or visit a marina frequently, check out whether all electrical devices have a GFCI, ground fault circuit interrupter or ELCI, equipment leakage circuit interrupter. These devices are designed to stop the flow of electrical current when tripped. These same devices are mandatory in all new buildings that have kitchens or bathrooms where water and electricity can co exist.

If these devices are not in place, do not swim around the dock or boat. It is not worth a life.

Visit the ESD site for more information. I admit that I was ignorant to this rare but grave risk.

Sad stuff - let's be proactive and avoid this issue by asking the questions,

Dr. M