KISSIMMEE, Fla., July 3, 2014 – The Fourth of July holiday is not only one of the most popular boating days of the season, but it is also the deadliest. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the Fourth of July, combined with Memorial Day and Labor Day, typically account for more than one third of all boating-related accidents and fatalities.
One of the hazards that threaten this otherwise celebratory occasion is electric shock drowning (ESD). ESD is the result of the passage of a typically low level alternating current through the body with sufficient force to cause skeletal muscular paralysis, rendering the victim unable to prevent him/herself from drowning.
ESD occurs in fresh water and the majority of deaths have occurred near public and private marinas and docks, but can also occur in swimming pools, spas and hot tubs with faulty wiring.
You can reduce the risk of electric shock drowning by following these helpful tips:
* Don’t allow yourself or anyone else to swim near marinas, boatyards or docks wired with electricity. Avoid entering the water when launching or loading your boat.
* If you feel a tingle while swimming, the water may be electrified. Get out as soon as possible avoiding the use of metal objects such as ladders.
* Never stand or swim in water when turning off electrical devices or switches.
* If you suspect that someone is swimming in electrified water, call for help and resist the urge to enter the water. Many rescuers have died trying to help ESD victims.
* Tell others about the danger of electric shock drowning. Most people have never heard of ESD and are unaware of the danger.
Founded in 1901, KUA (www.kua.com) is Florida’s sixth largest community-owned utility powering 64,000 customers in Osceola County, Fla.
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Chris M. Gent