CAN ELECTRICITY BE DANGEROUS?
Electricity can be dangerous if not handled properly. Water can carry electricity easily because it has positive and negative charges in it. The human body is largely made up of water. If used incorrectly an electricity can pass through the body. This is called an electric shock. An electric shock can be very dangerous because it can damage the insides of the body and can stop it from working properly. If someone is having an electric shock, it is said they are being electrocuted.
During an electric shock, many things happen. Muscles tighten. This means you cannot pull away from the source of electricity. Lungs get tight. This is dangerous as it can stop you breathing. The heartbeat is interrupted and can stop. Burns can occur where the electricity enters and leaves the body. The effects of a shock happen almost instantly, and so you will not be able to pull away. If you use electricity carefully and safely it can be very useful and you will not get hurt.
Electricity always tries to find the easiest way to get to the ground. Remembering this can help you understand if you are at risk of getting hurt. If someone is being electrocuted, you must not touch them or you will also be electrocuted. If you see someone being shocked, check you are not at risk and then try to turn of the electricity supply.
WHY SHOULD ELECTRICITY BE KEPT AWAY FROM WATER?
Water is very good at carrying an electric current because it has positive and negative charges that are free to move. This makes it very dangerous to have an electricity supply close to water. If there is an electric supply that comes into contact with water it can cause a current to pass through the water. This means it is very difficult to control where the current goes and is likely to pass through a person. This would give the person an electric shock.
HOW CAN WE SAFELY USE ELECTRICITY?
There are ways to keep safe when using electricity. Wires should always be covered in a plastic or rubber covering. This is because plastic is an insulator, so it does not carry electricity well. This means it will stop the current passing to a person when they touch the wire.
To stay safe, it is important to not touch any metal parts of the wires or the plug sockets. Even covered wires can be dangerous if they are carrying a large current. So, to avoid harm try to avoid touching or coming near to large power cables. Keeping water and other liquids away from electric devices also lowers the risk of getting hurt.
Charge can build up on devices if their internal wiring has been damaged. If you suspect the device is not working properly, do not turn the device on. For metal casings on electrical appliances, you should make sure the casing is earthed. This means the casing should have a wire connecting it to the ground. This is often done within the device itself, but it is worth checking. A build-up of charge can result in a static electric shock. This is when the charges that have built up on the device cause a current to pass through you when you touch the casing.
To avoid electrical fires, try to keep all wires in good condition. It is also a good idea to make sure you do not overload plug sockets. If too many devices are all plugged into the same port, it can cause the port to heat up and can cause a fire.