PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla., Dec. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Winter in northern States brings with it an increase in outdoor electrical shocks and electrocutions to companion animals due to contact voltage faults- principally while walking on sidewalks.
December, January and February are the three months when companion electrical injuries are at their highest- not from the snow moisture itself, but rather the application of road salts, de-icers and antifreeze liquids. All of these chemicals make snow and slushy waters much more conductive to electricity.
Contact voltage is an electrical fault that puts voltage potential on publically accessible surfaces that should not normally have power on them- most typically metal street lights, traffic signals and junction boxes.
Utility Testing and Geographic Information Systems (UT/GIS, UTGIS) offers 5 tips to keep companion friends safe this winter:
- Pay attention to electrical infrastructure items companions avoid- light poles, traffic signals, junction boxes, etc. Avoidance does not automatically imply contact voltage is present on an object- only testing with a voltmeter can do that.
- Network and/or socialize with others in your neighborhood or along your normal walking route looking for or observing trends. Often these incidents go unreported to officials because the humans don't understand what is going on. But if a group of people observe adverse companion behavior at the same general location- that may warrant further official investigation.
- Look for melted snow around the base of poles. Again, not in itself a positive indication contact voltage is present, but raises a warning flag especially if in conjunction with tip #1. Electrical current flowing on the pole causes it to heat up slightly, melting the snow around the base.
- Encourage your companion to visit non electrical infrastructure components.
- Report all suspected contact voltages to 911. Contact voltages can range anywhere from 1 volt to over 120 volts. For safety, all energized objects must be considered to be at their highest voltage level until competent testing proves otherwise.
Interestingly, previous research shows shock and electrocution cases related to contact voltage for humans peaks in June, July and August. During Winter and Spring, humans typically wear waterproof or rubberized sole shoes which afford some level of electrical safety protection.
UTGIS- Providing contact voltage testing, water leak detection, sign asset management services and GIS mapping, is Veteran owned and a member of the National Association of Veteran Owned Businesses.
Contact: Mark Voigtsberger, President
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