Getting electrocuted-A A +A
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
HERE'S one thing the local government units and the electric cooperative can do to prevent incidents of electrocution -- be strict on building constructions that abut or are within spitting distance of high tensions wires.
Our statistics from May, 2009 until Dec., 2012 look bad. There were 42 cases of electrocution. Thirty five suffered light to severe burns while seven were pronounced dead on arrival. These incidents were investigated and there was something very revealing from the facts. Most of them happened by instigation. What I mean is that the victims did something and in the process, they carelessly got in contact with the wires, causing them to tingle, blister and all.
And here’s another. One Jordan Pedro of Pitikan, Itogon burned his palm and got hospitalized when he accidentally held the bare portion of an extension wire on the way to a nearby creek to check a water line. It turned out the wire was there out of place. It was an unauthorized extension. In short, it was a flying connection.
The call is for the city or municipal electrical engineer or building official to be strict in approving building permits. Those structures that are being erected near the power lines should observe the proper distances pursuant to the Phil. Electrical Code and the Phil. Building Code. Of course, the electric cooperative is not spared from its own obligations. It should not shrink from its own duty to check that all lines are in their proper places. It must not hesitate to exercise its power to issue cease and desist orders for building projects which are dangerously close to primary lines.
Meanwhile, the electric cooperative is bound to correct sagging and long span wires. All distribution utilities are tasked to put premium on safety in the first place. So the insurance for protection from electrocution rests on the shoulders of electric cooperatives. Their responsibility covers a wide span -- from the power substation until the household meter. The wires in between are on their call, except those that went haywire because they tapped into the electric system outside of what the law and the distribution utility permit. That’s why we are urging all citizens to please help the cooperative by reporting wires that are loose or positioned in a manner that threatens life and property.
On Sept. 3, 2010, a bus got entangled with a secondary line along Atok, Benguet. An unsuspecting passenger seated on top of the bus got in contact with the wire and was electrocuted. He was hospitalized but was sent home. The cooperative immediately acted. It installed a secondary pole to provide the wires sufficient ground clearance.
But the human factor just can’t be ignored too. One got electrocuted when a steel bar he was holding got in contact with a wire while doing construction job. Another went down trembling when he got in contact with a live wire while attending to a gutter. One victim got his dose of electricity when he climbed a eucalyptus tree to trim its branches. There’s also this case of a man who volunteered to replace the service line of a neighbor. While atop the service pole, he got hit.
The dictum is consider all lines energized. And no citizen should dare tinker with them. The line maybe a secondary line at at 220 volts or a primary line which is at 23,000 volts or 13,200 volts. The lines that are built under or installed lower and used to light houses are the secondary lines while the higher parallels that carry the heavier power voltage are the primary lines. The primary lines are more risky than the secondary lines.
The best is we should all cooperate and be responsible citizens. Don’t hesitate to visit the consumer section of BENECO to report any dangerously looking wire. Don’t touch the wires in your eagerness. Or else you will get the shock of your life.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 06, 2013.