06 November 2011

Electricity with Water Everywhere

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6 November: Among the 500 plus deaths caused by the recent flooding here in Thailand, there are many who died of electrocution when wading in water. I have always been scared to death of electricity, I respect it, and I take no chances. I thank my cousin for his concern and his reminder of the dangers involved.
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We are lucky that our electric service was never cut off during this crisis – without electric fans I would wilt, and the mosquitoes would eat us alive at night. Our two main circuit breaker switches, both the one for our half and the one for the parent-in-law half of the house, are located high on the ground floors (about eight feet up), and all electrical outlets on the ground floor are at least chest-high. This house was designed with floods in mind. We only threw the main switches a couple of times, and only temporarily. This was when the water was at its highest, knee-high.
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My procedure when handling main switches or outlets went like this: Dry hands; place a sturdy plastic stool with a dry top under switch; fold a dry foam camping pad over four times and put on stool; lift one bare foot up and have Tuk dry it with a towel; place dry foot on pad; lift other foot out of water and have Tuk dry it; gain sure balance on stool and pad; make sure hands are dry and not touching any metal; touch switch/circuit breaker only with dry plastic over hand. I take no chances with electricity, and I think Ben Franklin (bless his genius mind) was insane and very lucky.
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We power our new 2nd floor abode (which has no outlets) by extension cords from below. The wiring in this building is unbelievably ancient and scares me. We are careful to use only some electrical devices in combination so as not to overload the archaic system. Someday we will replace it with a properly grounded system.
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Water levels continue to go down, but very slowly. The smells of the beached debris below us and outside in the neighborhood are strong. In my daily walk I saw huge piles of garbage, because no pickup has been possible. If we don’t get flooded anew this week by high tides, the tasks ahead are being watchful for waterborne diseases and cleaning up the aftermath. I feel like I’m working in a hospital again, given the strict hygienic regimen we follow.
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-Zenwind.
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