Do you know what electric shock is like? Have you experienced an electric shock? If you haven’t, never try to get one. The experience cannot be a pleasant one at all. It can be very dangerous too and may take one’s life. So, always play it safe with electricity. Here I am describing an incident when I got an electric shock for the first time in my life.
I was interested in electricity even in my childhood days. Electricity was something that amazed me at that time. I started playing with electricity when I was a school boy of ten years or so. I knew that playing with the mains supply would be dangerous. So, I used flash light batteries and bulbs, old and discarded switches, pieces of electric wire and such things to play with. These were the main play things I had. I wanted to become an electrical engineer, which I did.
I found out how I could connect a flash light bulb with a battery using pieces of electric wires to light it, how to connect a switch to control it and many such basic things. Once I surprised the elders by making a lamp that lights up automatically, when someone steps on the door mat placed in front of the door, announcing the arrival of a visitor.
But still, I never ventured to play with the electrical mains supply in my home. One day I came across an article that appeared in a children’s magazine. It explained about how one can make a cheap water heater. The components were two numbers of carbon rods that one may find inside dry cells used in flash lights, a small piece of wooden plank (or glass sheet), two numbers of electrical wires and a two-pin plug. Everything was readily available and decided to make the electric heater. But I warn you never to try this experiment as it is very dangerous. I wondered later, why such a dangerous experiment appeared in a children’s magazine.
I smashed two discarded flash light dry cells and took out the carbon rods. Placed them on either side of a small piece of wooden plank (some 8cmX8cm in size) and tied them securely on to it using a piece of twine. Then one end each of the two wires was connected to each of the carbon rods and the other two ends to the 2-pin plug. The heater was ready. I wanted to see whether it would work.
I filled water in an old metal can and immersed the heater in it. Then carefully, not touching the can, I inserted the plug in an electrical wall outlet. There was no switch for the outlet and so electricity started flowing the instant the plug pin was inserted. I waited for some time, then removed the plug and touched the water inside the can to see whether it was hot. It was and I congratulated myself for making this cheap water heater.
Later, in the evening I took the heater again for experimenting. It was immersed in water filled in the metallic can and then I inserted the plug in the wall outlet. But this time I committed a mistake as I was a little careless. My left hand was kept on the can when the plug was inserted with the right hand. Something like a tremor passed through my body instantly. I took away my left hand from the can at the very instant in reflex action. I was saved. No damage was done. The only thing was that I knew what an electric shock was like for the first time. I was not relieved of the shock (not the electric shock, but the mental shock it inflicted) for quite some time.
I decided never to do such dangerous experiments with electricity. I took the heater, dismantled it and threw it away.
At that time, modern protective devices like the ELCB (earth leakage circuit breaker) were not invented and so, there was nothing like that installed in our electrical system. Now, ELCB (or RCCB which is another name for it) is available in the market. It should be installed in the electrical system in every home to protect human beings from electric shock. The leakage current sensitivity of the ELCB to be installed in homes should be 30 milli amperes to give maximum protection from electric shock. If you have not yet installed one in your home, do that today itself, because life is precious, isn’t it?
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