Electric Shock Can Kill You
- Created: Tuesday, 09 August 2011 16:05
- Last Updated: Sunday, 23 June 2013 09:14
- Written by Chuck Woodbury
Your RV can kill you. Not just in a traffic accident, but by merely stepping into it.
Here is the gist of an article from last Monday's Muncie Indiana Starpress newspaper:
A Muncie teen died early last Sunday after being electrocuted by his family's RV. David L. Boyle III, 18, was pronounced dead at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital shortly after he was shocked, according to Delaware County Coroner Scott Hahn.
Hahn said a camper behind the residence became energized after an electrical wire was run from the house to the camper. "When they would go (into the camper), they would feel a little jolt, so they wrapped the door knob in electrical tape so when they turned it, they wouldn't get shocked," Hahn said.
Boyle, who Hahn said was barefoot was electrocuted as he stepped from the wet ground onto the camper's metal step. "It caused an arrhythmia in (Boyle's) heart," Hahn said.
What a terrible, unfortunate accident -- one that was so easily preventable. I asked our RV electric expert Mike Sokol to comment. He said:
"Anytime you feel a shock or even a tingle while touching the body or doorknob of an RV, it's a warning that the vehicle has a hot-skin condition. The same goes for any sort of power tool or appliance, you should NEVER feel a shock or tingle. If you do feel a tingle it means there's at least 30 volts AC on the chassis and body of the vehicle. And as little as 30 or 40 AC volts through your heart can cause it to go into fibrillation. Without intervention from emergency rescue personnel, you'll almost certainly die from electrocution."
Why this accident happened "I would suspect that they plugged the RV into a non-grounded power outlet or extension cord with a broken-off ground pin. That allowed the body of the RV to drift up to 100 volts or so. That's why they put electrical tape on the doorknob; they were feeling an electrical tingle on the knob earlier that week which wasn't enough to cause electrocution since they were most likely wearing shoes. But they didn't realize that the entire RV body was hot-skin energized, and the boy was standing in bare feet on the wet ground while touching a hot-skin RV which completed the electrical circuit. His heart went into fibrillation, and he died from coronary arrest.
"If you ever feel of any kind of electric shock or jolt from your RV you should always unplug from shore power and examine all ground connections. NEVER accept feeling a shock from your RV. It could kill you the next time."