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What is Electric Shock Drowning (ESD) and How to Protect Yourself

Electric shock drowning (ESD) is a serious and potentially deadly danger, with potential to occur unexpectedly in swimming areas near electric sources. Knowing the dangers and safety measures to take can help save lives, so read on to learn more about ESD and how to protect yourself and your family.

What is Electric Shock Drowning?

Electric shock drowning (ESD) is a hazardous condition caused by electric current passing through water that can lead to sudden and unexpected drowning. This occurs when electric current escapes from power sources such as docks, marinas, boatyards, or faulty underwater electrical supplies and mixes with the surrounding water. Unsuspecting swimmers and waders may be unable to detect the electric current flowing in the water until it’s too late.

Do I Need to Protect Myself from ESD?

Yes, it is important to take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your family from electric shock drowning. Make sure that all boats and docks are installed safely with respect to local building codes, and use a qualified electrician for any wiring completed in or near the water. Swimmers should avoid these areas of potential danger, and owners should post warning signs where potential hazards may exist. Finally, never touch an electrical appliance underwater at all times.

How Can You Detect an Electrical Current in the Water?

Detecting an electrical current in the water can be difficult to do, as it is often an invisible danger. However, there are a few telltale signs that may indicate the presence of an electric current in the water: a faint bluish tint to the water, an oily sheen on the surface of the water that swirls around when disturbed, and/or dead fish near or in the water. If you experience any of these signs, leave the area immediately and contact your local authorities for assistance.

What Steps Should You Take to Protect Yourself From Electric Shock Drowning?

To protect yourself and your family from ESD, there are several steps you should take. Before entering the water, look out at it for any signs of danger such as electrical outlets or cords near the water. If you do see any of these objects, stay away from them and warn others to do the same. Additionally, always inspect boats for exposed wiring and make sure their circuit breakers are in working order. It is also important to avoid swimming in areas where lightning storms occur frequently, as this can increase the risk of electric shock drowning.

Are There Rules and Regulations That Help Prevent ESD?

Yes, there are several regulations and standards that serve to minimize the risk of electric shock drowning, such as the National Electric Code (NEC). This code is followed by most states when any type of electrical wiring is installed near or around water, meaning electrical outlets and cords should always be a safe distance away from the water. Additionally, boats should also obey these standards and thus have their circuit breakers checked regularly and be equipped with a GFCI outlet.

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