The live wire is dangerous because electricity is dangerous. According to CDC, electrocution is the fifth leading cause of death. Everyone thinks the live wire is problematic because it carries electricity
What Happens If You Touch Live Wire?
First of all, electrocution occurs when an electrical current passes through your body. Some electric shocks are strong enough to kill you. Others will only stun you. Some are so small that you will only register a mild tingling.
Some people erroneously assume that electricity is only dangerous when large volumes of current flow through your body, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. A small current can kill you if it crosses your heart.
Electrocution is not the only threat associated with live wires. Some people die because a small current causes them to fall from a great height. Others were burned to death because the current started a fire.
What Matters While You Touch Live Wires?
1). The Contact Matters
Current flows between two points that differ in potential. The live wire has a higher potential than your body. Therefore, if you touch the black or red conductor with your bare hands, the current will flow through your body because of that difference in potential.
Different scenarios can lead to electrocution. For instance, if you’re standing on the ground while touching the live wire, you can expect a shock because the current will enter your body through your hands and exit into the ground.
What if you touch the live and neutral wires are the same time? You can also expect a shock. The neutral has a lower potential than the live conductor. Therefore, the current from the hot wire will pass through your body to reach the neutral.
2). The Duration Of Contact Matters
The longer the duration of your contact with the live wire, the more severe the shock. On the other hand, brief contact with a live wire is less dangerous.
It can still harm you. For instance, a mild shock can exacerbate a heart condition. But it is less dangerous than prolonged contact.
3). Insulation Matters
You won’t suffer severe shocks if your body is adequately insulated. The current may still flow, but it is too little for you to notice. However, insulation is not a guarantee that you can touch a live wire without receiving a shock.
Many people have received mild shocks while using rubber-soled shoes and insulated ladders and mats. People think electrocution only occurs when you touch a hot wire while standing in water.
They ignore variables like high humidity and sweat that are more than capable of conducting electricity.
The best way to avoid electrocution is to stay away from hot wires. If you must touch a live wire, don’t use your bare hands.
What To Do If You Touch A Live Wire Accidentally?
Electric shocks can occur because you touched a live wire or a metal surface connected to a live wire. You can also be shocked if you touch a person already in contact with a live wire. Your response will depend on your situation. Consider the following:
1). You Touch A Live Wire
If you touch a hot wire, you only have one option. Let go of the wire. But what if you can’t? An electric shock can cause your muscles to contract. Once that happens, you cannot let go of the wire.
Medical News Today has a table showing the let-go threshold. This is the point beyond which you can’t let go of the live wire. The let-go threshold for children is 3 – 5mA. That figure is much higher for adults (22mA).
At 50mA, seizures may occur, which means that letting go is no longer an option. If you can’t let go of the wire, you don’t have any options. If you’re alone, you will most likely die. But if you can break contact with the wire, Healthline wants you to start by calling emergency services or anyone in the vicinity for help. Avoid unnecessary movement. Wait for help to arrive.
Minor shocks don’t require medical assistance. You should only visit the doctor if you notice concerning symptoms.
2). Someone Else Touches A Live Wire
The best scenario is for someone else to touch the live wire because you can help them. If you touch the wire while alone, you’re out of options.
If you come upon someone else that touched a live wire by accident, don’t touch them. Find the breaker and shut the power off. If the breaker is too far away, use a non-conductive object, such as a wooden chair, to push the victim away from the electric source.
If you touch them, the current will flow through you as well. Once the victim is safe, call emergency services. While you wait for help to arrive, perform CPR if you can’t find a pulse. You can pull them away from the electric source if it poses a threat.
Otherwise, don’t move the victim. The severity of their injuries depends on the voltage, duration of contact, and the victim’s health.
How To Touch A Live Wire Without Getting Shocked?
Don’t touch a live wire. Even if you take the relevant precautions, the practice is too dangerous. If you don’t have a choice, you can touch a bare live wire without getting shocked if you don’t complete the circuit.
Look at the birds in your neighborhood. They sit on high-voltage distribution cables every day without dying. This is because their bodies are not grounded. Additionally, you can’t touch the live and neutral wires at the same time.
The neutral wires are at a lower potential than their live counterparts. Therefore, the current will flow from the hot to the neutral. And if you’re touching both wires, it will pass through your body.
Safety Measures To Prevent From Live Wire
You can take various safety precautions to avoid electrocution, especially if you intend to work with live wires. That includes the following:
1). Identify The Hot Wires With Tester
Start by identifying the live wire. Some people receive severe shocks because they touch wires without realizing they have a current. You can find the hot wire by looking at the color.
Live conductors have black or red jackets. You can also use a voltage tester. The tester will identify the conductor with the current.
2). Turn The Breaker OFF
Don’t interact with the live wire without cutting the power. This is especially true for individuals that stumble upon a live wire. You rarely find exposed live wires in residential settings. If a live wire came loose or an electrician left the wire exposed by accident, you can eliminate the electrocution hazard by cutting the power.
Use the main breaker. It is more convenient to use the branch breakers. There’s no point in depriving the whole house of power. You are better off cutting the power to the circuit with the exposed wire. But if you have failed to identify the branch circuit with the exposed live wire, cut the power to the whole house.
3). Wear Protective Gears
Wear protective gear. That includes goggles, rubber-soled shoes, and rubber gloves. You can also stand on a rubber mat. Avoid water. Don’t interact with the live wire when your body is wet. If you’re wearing wet clothing, change it into dry clothing.
4). Cover The Live Wire With Tape
Cover the ends of the live wires. I recommend using electrical tape. However, you can also use wire nuts and caps. Wrap the live wires and push them into an electric box if you have one. Wrap the wires individually. Don’t allow them to touch one another.