The most important education required is regarding the proper use of earthing. Earthing can be procured either from the city source or made indigenously at home by digging a big hole. Earthing is a thick wire attached to the top hole of a 3–pin electrical socket. Earthing leads are, by international convention, kept green so that there should be no difficulty in identifying it and pointing them out.
People need to be familiarized with the colours used on the insulation; green is for earthing, black for neutral and red for live wire. Normal electricity is generated when the live wire is connected to the neutral wire. Earth wire is a safety mechanism to remove leakage of the electrical current. Live with earth wire will also give the electrical current but not when the earth wire is connected to the neutral wire.
Earthing is a safety outlet, which allows leaking electricity to be conducted away harmlessly and not through the body. Earthing needs to be checked every 6 months because it deteriorates with time and weather, particularly during the rainy season. A check can be carried out using an ordinary tester on the body of the appliance.
A tester or a test lamp can easily check that earthing is proper. One can light bulb with live and earth wire. If the bulb fails to light while connecting live and earth socket it means a defective earthing. People tend to take earthing lightly and often misuse it. Live and earth wires are sometimes untied together for temporary connection, which can be dangerous to life.
Following are the general precautions, Dos and Don'ts which people should take to prevent electrical hazards:
· Make sure that you have proper earthing connection in the house.
· Always remember the green wire, without it, do not use any electrical appliances especially if it is touching any water surface. Water enhances conductivity; extra precautions therefore should be taken, while handling appliances, under wet conditions.
· 2–pin plugs with no earthing arrangements should not be used and in fact should be banned.
· While using 3–pin plugs, make sure all 3 wires are connected and the pins are not defective.
· Do not use matchsticks to hold wires in the socket.
· Do not touch any wire without ensuring that power supply is switched off.
· Do not use the earth wire to replace the neutral wire.
· All joint wires should be properly insulated with proper insulated tapes and not with cello tape or Band–Aids.
· Before using geyser water, it should be switched off.
· Do not use heater plates with exposed wire for cooking purpose.
· Use dry rubber slipper at home.
· Use mini circuit breaker (MCB) and earth leak circuit breaker (ELCB) facilities at home.
· Metallic electrical appliance should not be kept near a water tap.
· Using rubber mats and desert coolers by using rubber leggings in the stand can insulate electrical appliance.
· Use only recommended resistance wires and fuses.
· Earthing should be checked every 6 months.
· Any ordinary tester can check the presence of leaking electricity.
· Wrap cloth around the handle of the refrigerator
· Read the set of instructions attached with every electrical appliance.
Accidental electric deaths occur more often in India due to the use of 220 V than in the US, where 110V is used. AC current is more dangerous than DC. An AC current of more than 10 MA causes tetanic muscular contractions making it impossible for a hand grasping an energized object, to free itself.
In case of electrocution, proper resuscitation is necessary. The mains should be switched off or wires disconnected using a wooden material and cardiopulmonary resuscitation should be started immediately. In a clinically dead patient, a thump in the center of the chest from a distance of one foot may alone revive a person.
In severe electrocution, clinical deaths occur within 4–5 min., therefore time to act is limited. Do not wait for the victim to be taken to the hospital. Act there and then.
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