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Ask an Expert – Kids 2021-05-18T11:46:32+00:00
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Ella had this same question, and I will answer it again for you. Yes, the human body is a good conductor of electricity! This is because the body is 60-70% water, and water is an excellent conductor. Since the water in our bodies can help electricity flow through us, we need to be extremely careful to not contact electricity.

A good question, and you’re not the first person to ask it! Most electricity in this country is made (or produced) at power plants where fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) or renewable energy sources (such as water, wind, biomass, or geothermal) are used to turn turbines. The turbines turn electromagnets that are surrounded by heavy coils of copper wire. The moving magnets cause the electrons in the copper wire to move from atom to atom, generating electricity. Electricity can also be produced from sunshine, using special panels that convert sunlight into electricity. You can see these panels on the rooftops of many Southern California homes, businesses, and warehouses.

Answer: If you step in a puddle that contains a fallen power line, you could be badly injured or even killed! Downed power lines can electrify puddles, wet grass and the surrounding area. Be especially alert for power lines in puddles after stormy weather, and NEVER touch anyone or anything in contact with a downed line. Stay far away and call 911.

Answer: I have never seen a balloon with hair, but I can tell you that releasing any balloon near power lines is definitely a bad idea! A balloon that gets stuck in power lines can cause a power outage or fire, and can also pose a shock hazard to someone who tries to grab its string. Always keep balloons, kites and flying toys far away from power lines.

Answer: You may have read or heard about the dangers of releasing helium-filled metallic balloons outdoors, where they can float up and contact power lines or equipment. This is definitely a hazard! But it’s not the helium inside the balloons that causes the danger—it’s the balloons themselves. Metallic balloons can cause outages and fires if they contact power lines. Always keep these balloons indoors, tied to a heavy weight. And if you see one caught in a power line or substation, stay away and tell an adult to report it to the local electric utility.

Answer: Locked-in syndrome is a rare neurological disorder characterized by complete paralysis of voluntary muscles, except for those that control the eyes. It may be caused by a spinal cord injury, a stroke or another serious condition that can lock people in their bodies. Their brains still produce electrical signals when stimulated. They are alert, intelligent, have memory and can learn, but since their nervous systems are badly damaged, electrical signals cannot reach their muscles. They can’t move their arms or legs or even speak. People with this “locked-in syndrome” have great difficulty communicating with others.

Electricity is a form of energy that begins with atoms. Atoms are tiny particles that comprise everything around us. The center of the atom has at least one proton and one neutron. At least one electron travels around the center of the atom at a very great speed. An outside force, called voltage, can push electrons from atom to atom. This movement of electrons produces electricity.

If you touch someone who is in contact with an electricity source, electricity will travel through you as well. You could be seriously injured or even killed! Do NOT touch the person or anything he or she is touching. Instead, stay far away, tell an adult to turn off the power at the fuse box or circuit breaker, and call 911 for help.

Answer: Small birds can sit safely on one power line and not get shocked because the electricity is always looking for a way to get to the ground. If the birds are not touching the ground or anything in contact with the ground, electricity will stay in the power line and won’t harm the birds. However, birds with broad wingspans are more likely to touch a power line and pole at the same time, which can create a path for electricity to travel down the pole to the ground. Their large wings can also bridge two power lines, creating a circuit or a path for electricity. In either situation, the birds can be electrocuted.

Answer: Yes, the human body is a good conductor of electricity because it is 60-70% water.  This means that if you touch electricity, electricity will flow through you, and you will be badly hurt.

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