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Hidden electrical dangers in homes.

Dubai: The dangers may not be apparent, but malfunctioning electrical equipment in the bathroom -- faulty water heaters, hair dryers, shaving points -- can cause electrical shocks and even electrocution.

"An electric shock can be extremely traumatic as depending on the voltage of the current. The person can be thrown back, receive burns, get maimed or even die of electrocution. We have had cases of mild to severe electric shocks that people have received in bathrooms and kitchens," said Ajay Chaturvedi, the head of Emergency Medical Services at the American Heart Association, Dubai.

Usually the human body has resistance to prevent damage when exposed to low voltages. However, when your palms are sweaty or when you are wet or damp, this resistance is lowered and can pass on the current directly to your body when exposed to it. The most important thing is to use covered circuits that are not overloaded with electric equipment and get all electrical points regularly checked by a qualified electrician, caution experts.

Modern apartments are equipped with auto switch and whenever there is an electric malfunction usually the circuit trips, switching off the current from the mains.

However, in some of the really old apartments needing a complete change in wires and plumbing, sometimes the problem can pose a serious hazard.

A Dubai resident who used to live in a dilapidated building in Karama but has moved since recalled a bad experience.

"This was in the early 2000 and all the residents of our building complained of getting a mild shock whenever we touched the tap in the kitchen sink. Apparently there was some malfunctioning in the kitchen water heater, but it was really scary and I would avoid using the kitchen tap. However, it was not easy to altogether avoid using it and I would touch it with the help of a thick cloth napkin. No one in the building maintenance was heeding our complaints and eventually we moved out. I later heard that the pipes and circuits were changed."

Chaturvedi said that a person received electric shock due to use of an appropriate wire where the connection was not properly grounded.

"In bathrooms, it is usually the electric razors or water heaters that are the culprits. When you install these you have to make sure you have proper [grounding] wires. Sometimes people use faulty extension chords or even load extension chords with too many connections that can short circuit. This must be completely avoided. You must not use these when in the shower or bath tub. Switch off the current before you get damp or step into the shower."

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Jan 6, 2015
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