Electricity! A physical phenomenon that is natural. It first made its presence known to man by demonstrating a spectacular light show, high in the sky. Sometimes there would be clouds and sometimes there won’t be. It produces a bolt that emanates(usually from the clouds) and is associated with the presence and flow of an electric charge. The bolt emerges because liquid and ice particles collide, above the freezing level of thunderstorms. Incredibly, the energy produced allows for temperatures greater than the surface of the sun, which is 5778 K or 9941°F. It is absolutely beautiful. It is also absolutely deadly!
Imagine prehistoric humans back in the days of dinosaurs who watched these fabulous light shows. They stood out in the open and pointed at them, unknowingly placing him or her in a position of immediate death. Beyond that, as man engaged in scientific research, one of them flew a kite and by all standards of history discovered electricity to the point where it is placed in a lightbulb. It illuminates our home and the streets where we live. Even more, it illuminates the vehicles that we drive in. Now, we are talking about artificial electricity.
Electricity also presents itself in the form of static charges. These are also artificial (specifically when man creates it) and yet extremely dangerous, depending on how big and powerful the static charge is. Interestingly, electricity will follow a path of least resistance, whether it is natural or artificial.
Electricity is everywhere and to make things even more complicated, it is naturally found inside of intelligent and non-intelligent life forms. To be even more specific, it’s found in human beings. It flows from top to bottomof an organ which is the size of our fist. We call it the heart. Here’s how it works:
The normal pacemaker of the heart is referred to as the Sinoatrial (SA) node. Here is where the pacemaker cells fire through dedicated fibers, sending messages all the way down to the bottom of the heart, which is where the Purkinje fibers are. This activity is known as electrical impulses and surprisingly, electrical impulses can exist and give the appearance of a normal heart on an EKG monitor but in reality, the heart is not beating at all. This is specifically referred to as Pulseless Electrical Activity (PEA) or as it was referred to in the past, Electromechanical Dissociation (EMD). Of course the path of electrical impulses is explained in detail in library text, this is just a rough example of how electricity flows not only in the atmosphere but in our bodies.
So, what happens when electricity meets electricity?
Well, it depends on whether the bolt meets world or whether the bolt meets a life form. Clearly if the bolt meets a life form, with temperatures as hot as the surface of the sun, burns would be the major problem. But is that a true statement? Undoubtedly, the answer is true and false because burns are a major problem but the electrical impulse will cause the electrical impulse in the heart and the brain to malfunction and produce lethal rhythms. Ironically, what is needed to fix that lethal rhythm is a lower level of electricity. We call that defibrillation where we use joules or watts per second to rearrange a lethal rhythm into an acceptable perfused and organized rhythm.
Electricity flows through our homes as well. In every room we have outlets. Near the sinks we have outlets. And in the bathrooms we have outlets. What are around these outlets are sinks, dust, water, and small children. Now, let’s take each one of these and give an explanation.
Sinks and water go hand in hand. For some reason, electricity seems to like water. It’s like a bee being drawn to honey. Unfortunately, if anyone is touching this water the currents that are flowing through it, from the outlet will produce an electrical shock. If the shock is significant enough, it will cause the electrical impulse that is touring through the heart to be interrupted and thereby produce a lethal rhythm.
Dust has a tendency to produce static electricity, when there is enough of it. That static electricity, if around explosive objects can cause a dangerous combination that includes explosion, fire, and physical injury to a human being.
Small children have a tendency to take metal objects and stick them through the outlets and thereby causing an electrical impulse to enter their body and therefore producing a lethal rhythm. The lethal rhythm, if corrected immediately in many situations, usually will have a very good chance of being rearranged to a perfused rhythm.
It’s clear that electricity is everywhere in the world, in people, in every life form, and everywhere in the universe. Its power and energy is endless and can be at levels as low as 1 to 2 J or high as 1 million kW and beyond. It is all around us, both naturally and man-made, and if we are not careful, it can take our lives. Since accidents do occur that causes the electrical impulse in the heart to be rearranged to a lethal rhythm then isn’t it obvious that there should be a defibrillator in every home, every school, in every business, and even on taxicabs? I know this may be asking for a bit too much, but surely, having a defibrillator is worth it, because it’s a small price to pay to save a life.