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Why Electricity Is Dangerous

You've probably been shocked before by static electricity, like when you walk across carpet and touch a doorknob.

But a real electric shock is a lot more painful than that, and a lot more dangerous. Here's what can happen:

  • Muscles tighten up, making it almost impossible to pull away from the circuit.
  • Lungs constrict, making it hard to breathe.
  • Heartbeat is interrupted and blood vessels tighten.
  • Burns occur where the electricity enters and leaves the body.

It sounds scary, and it is, but if you remember the safety rules, you can use electricity without getting hurt. 

Humans are good conductors

Did you know that the human body is a good conductor of electricity? That means that electricity flows easily through our bodies. Why? Because electricity moves quickly through water - and the human body is 70 percent water!

Another fact you need to remember is that electricity always tries to find the easiest path to the ground.

Accidents happen quickly

You might think that if you get shocked, you can pull away quickly and not get hurt. But the effects of electricity can be felt immediately, so a person has almost no chance of pulling away.

And if the electricity is strong enough, it can cause the victim's muscles to tighten up so much he or she can't let go.

Anyone who touches someone who is being electrocuted can become part of the circuit as well. That's why you should never grab on to anyone who's been shocked.

Click here to learn what to do if someone gets shocked.


Fun stuff to print out

Alliant Energy Kids activity book [PDF]

Do an Energy Safety Survey [PDF]