Port Saint Lucie, FL /PRNewswire/ - Four separate dog injuries in Chicago over the past ten days reminds us that electrical safety hazard season for companion animals is now in full swing. These recent incidents all seem to be related to junction box or manhole wiring problems, but can be found on almost any conductive object on a city sidewalk- including light poles and traffic signals.
While voltage shocks and electrocutions to humans normally peak in July and August, electrical injuries and fatalities to dogs typically peak in January and February when there is plenty of snow and slush for them to stand in with their paws.
Florida based Utility Testing and Geographic Information Systems LLC (UTGIS) should know- they have been tracking these types of events since 2005. "Electrical safety hazards generally increase in winter for dogs and summer for humans, but injuries and fatalities have occurred for both species in every month of the year," said UTGIS President Mark Voigtsberger. "One of the most highly publicized human fatalities took place in New York City in January of 2004." Voigtsberger is referring to the tragic electrocution of a college student who tried to rescue her two dogs while they were being shocked from an underground wiring fault.
To protect humans and dogs from these electrical safety hazards, UTGIS developed the ETR-3M- a radio based electric field detector.
"The ETR-3M system allows municipalities and utilities to quickly and inexpensively test large portions of their underground electrical distribution systems in fairly short order," said Voigtsberger ."Unique to the ETR-3M is that it can be mounted on a variety of platforms such as trucks, SUVs, ATVs, golf carts, bicycles or almost any type of wheeled vehicle. This permits mobile surveying of areas such as city parks, boardwalks or wooden piers which may not have paved roads to support a truck but do have lighting and electrical circuits."
Voigtsberger points out an all too common misconception regarding public electrical safety issues: "Failure to hear reports or complaints of shocks from the public should not be considered as validation that a municipality is free of sidewalk voltage hazards. Cities performing routine electrical safety testing are finding these electric faults occur on a regular basis between testing cycles." Of the thousands of cities and towns in the United States, only about 35 perform annual safety testing, and most of those are in New York State.
UTGIS offers immediate testing services for municipalities and utilities wishing to quickly evaluate the present condition of their electrical system, or can provide a fully loaded and operational vehicle for those wishing to perform testing in-house.