What every parent needs to know about electric shock drowning

Published: Friday, April 22, 2016 @ 11:39 AM
Updated: Friday, April 22, 2016 @ 12:38 PM

Dry Drowning and Secondary Drowning Explained
Sean Gallup
Dry Drowning and Secondary Drowning Explained(Sean Gallup)

Two Alabama teens jumped from a boat dock into a fresh water lake to take a swim after a day of picnicking and enjoying the warming spring weather. But sadly, one of them never made it home.


The body of one of the girls, Carmen Johnson, 15, of Hartselle, didn’t resurface. Her body was recovered an hour later, having drowned in the fresh waters of Smith Lake in Winston County, Ala.


While authorities have not said for sure what caused Carmen’s death, they believe the Priceville High School cheerleader may have drowned after she was electrocuted by  a 120-volt alternating current that was “leaking” into the water.


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Carman’s death last week highlights a little-known but growing danger that comes with swimming near docks and the boats secured to them. And it sounds like every parent's nightmare.


The incidents of  Electric Shock Drowning – or drowning that happens as a result of an electric shock – have been on the rise as boats and docks are being stocked with more electric appliances and devices. If not properly installed or maintained, the devices can “leak” electric current into the water, setting up the potential for tragedy.


As the weather gets warmer and more people head outdoors for a fun time on the water, here’s a primer on ESD and some steps to take to keep safe this summer.


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What is an Electric Shock Drowning (ESD)?


ESD happens when a swimmer comes into contact with electrical current.  The current – in this case, alternating current (AC) – causes skeletal muscular paralysis, lasting for only an instant, but long enough to incapacitate a swimmer allowing him to drown. 


Where does the electricity come from?


The electric current “leaks” from boats and docks into the water. It can come from frayed wires, improperly wired systems or an AC grounding system that is damaged or malfunctioning.


What causes people to be electrocuted?


Electrical current will always attempt to return to its source in order to complete the elecrical circuit. Electrical current is resourceful and will find any way to do that, taking the path of least resistance and most conductivity (anything that will help the current move along its path). The way alternating current (AC) searches for its source is the most deadly for humans because it takes only a small amount of AC to disrupt the electrical impulses that control our muscles and nerves.  


Why does ESD happen in fresh water and not salt water?


We go back to conductivity for the answer. Fresh water is not a good electrical conductor. Because it is not a good conductor, the alternating current looks for something better. A human body in fresh water becomes that something better. The high amount of salt in humans make our bodies far better conductors of electrical current than fresh water.


How much electricity is needed for this to happen?


Not much at all. It takes only small amounts of leaking AC to incapacitate or electrocute a person. As small an amount as 15 milliamps can cause paralysis, 100 milliamps – or a third of the amount of electricity need to light a 40-watt light bulb – can kill a person in seconds. In comparison, a double AA battery produces 2400 milliamps per hour.


Doesn’t anyone regulate docks and boats secured to them?


There are marine codes that regulate docks and boats. They are NFPA 303 (Fire Protection Standard for Marinas and Boatyards), NFPA 70, and National Electric Code 555 (NEC). Boatus.com also notes that “boats not wired in accordance with standards set forth by the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) can be a source of AC leakage.”


Can you tell if water is unsafe to swim in?


No, but here are some tips that could keep you safe. 

  • Never swim within 100 yards of any fresh water marina or boatyard.
  •  If you have a boat, have it tested to make sure it is not leaking electricity. You can buy a clamp meter and test it yourself.
  • Have a qualifed electrician do any electric work needed on a dock or on your boat. 
  • Do not use a household extension cords for powering your docked boat.  

If you feel "tingly" in the water, you could be at risk for shock. In that case you should: (courtesy of boatus.com)

  • Have someone turn off the shore power connection at the meter base and/or unplug shore power cords. 
  • Tell anyone in the water to move away from the dock.
  • Stop anyone else from entering the water.
  • If you believe someone has been shocked, reach, throw, row, but don’t go into the water to get to anyone who you think  has been shocked.
  •  Call for help. Use 911 or VHF Channel 16. 
  • Try CPR on the person; don't stop until trained help arrives.
Sources: boatus.com; acegroup.com; Boating Magazine; Decatur Daily News

Texas bakery deletes Facebook page after bad reviews over gun stance

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 10:20 PM

Google Maps screenshot.
(Google Maps screenshot.)

French bakery located in the Austin area appears to have deleted its business Facebook page after a note posted earlier stated it intended to do so when a barrage of negative, 1-star reviews popped up on the page following an incident where they say they turned away a customer who was carrying a gun.

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Baguette et Chocolat posted their reasoning for the change Monday on Facebook.

Here is the full text:


Dear patrons,

Due to a recent gun incident with one fellow at our store, we’re extremely sad and shocked to announce you that we will shut down our Facebook page in the next days.

This fellow, who is a pro gun, wrote an article on Saturday 16th of September, on a pro gun social network, relating his version about what happened in our store.

Here is our version : 
This fellow was upset, a year and a half ago, when we put on the doors the LAW sign prohibiting carrying gun in our establishment. He talked to my wife and said that if we didn’t put those signs down, he would not come back. We didn’t take those signs out.

Recently, he chose to come back. We saw his gun underneath is t shirt. My employees and myself didn’t know what to do so, we decided to call 311. We were trying to know what can we tell this fellow, who knows that we don’t legally allow guns in our bakery, but still comes inside with his gun. 311 decided to send police officers. We were not aware of it until the police officers showed up.

Those police officers dealt with him telling him that regarding the LAW, we don’t allow guns in our store. He pretended he didn’t see the signs on the door. Apparently, he just had a warning and left the store.

On Saturday 16th of September, we started receiving a couple of 1 star review without comment. I started to see with my employees to know if something went wrong that day because we’re not used to bad review much. If we can fix a mistake, we will.

Later this day we received much more 1 star reviews, some with comments regarding guns and insulting emails. Everything went clear. This article was spreading.

All Baguette et Chocolate’s team is shocked and very sad. Like April, my head baker who has been working very hard with us for more than 6 years and told us “you don’t deserve this !”. We’ve been building very hard this true Authentic French family business for almost 8 years now.  
In just a couple of days, those people who most of them never came to our store, try, as they say, to destroy our business. Telling us that as “migrant” we have to go back to our country. That we don’t have our place here in the USA or in Texas. That we don’t respect people. That we treat them like criminals (but we just talk about the gun not the person who carry it). That they expect us to be robbed at our house or at our business. And much worse even threats…….

Yes, we’re migrant Alien who left our country for America to live our dream of sharing our passion for French food. We wanted to live our American dream. We’re known for respecting our savoir faire, authenticity and quality. Yes, our down side is the customer service sometimes, we know it and we do our best to fix it but we’re just a tiny bakery NOT a formal restaurant, very popular with only 30 people allowance (employees included) so it’s hard sometimes to handle everything. Our team does his best and works hard to satisfy your needs. 
We’re working very hard to make it right, to make our patrons happy to stop by and have a piece of France right around the corner, trying to make you having a good time.

Yes, we put those LAW signs on the doors. Yes, we don’t want guns inside the bakery as we’re small place and can be packed with children around as they have their own spot. We WELCOME EVERYONE and always do, but just unarmed. Our concern is NOT the person but the gun.

I thought we had the freedom in our own building, like HEB or WHOLE FOOD, to legally do what we think is best. Apparently not. 
Our time is precious, we don’t have much time to spend on the social network as we focus on our job to satisfy our patrons who really believe in what we’re here for. We can not deal with those fellows. We let them express their anger on the other reviews network.  
Our Facebook page was supposed to be our own….not anymore. The rating we’ve been working on has been declining drastically by those bad reviews and it will keep going. 
We don’t have any hands on it. Facebook can not help us.



Anne-lise & Chi minh PHAM DINH  
Baguette et Chocolat’s owners”

The pro-gun article mentioned in the post’s early paragraphs comes from a post on Robert Farago’s “The Truth About Guns” blog. The blog is dedicated to “exploring the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.”

Farago wrote “Austin’s Baguette et Chocolat calls the cops on RF’s concealed carry,” where he offers his side of the story related in the restaurant’s Facebook post.

“Prior to that fateful afternoon, I stashed my gat in the car before entering the patisserie. That day, though, I forgot. I was wearing my Wilson Combat EDC X-9 in a Kydex holster under a T shirt. I was barely printing. But apparently enough to trigger the owner’s PC hoplophobia.”

Farago said he thought the bakery’s sign banning open carry only applied to 30.06 caliber guns and not his handgun.

“‘I’m sorry officer,’ I said after pretending to read the signs and re-entering the cafe. “I thought it was no open carry.”

“I...put on my hat, made another apology and exited B&C stage right.

“And that was that.

“My bad, right? But I’m still annoyed that the owner called the cops.”

Farago also mentioned that he thought an apology to the officers called to the scene would be enough.

“I was a regular customer. I’d just bought $30 worth of food. I was with an attractive young lady. I was dressed well. I was calm and polite to his staff. All the owner had to do: ask me to leave and/or disarm.”

Farago updated his post in the wake of Baguette et Chocolat’s Facebook post, saying that he wants his supporters and readers to refrain from contacting the bakery.

“We’ve received a number of reports of readers threatening the business in question on their Facebook page and web site. This is probably a tiny minority of readers, but actions like that don’t help the gun rights cause at all. Please refrain from contacting the business.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, Baguette et Chocolat had 20 1-star reviews on its Facebook page before it was shut down, compared to more than 1,000 5-star reviews. 

Six of those 1-star reviews mentioned the bakery’s gun policy, and nearly all of them were written after the Sept. 16 date in question. 

However, many of the bakery’s 5-star reviews praised the food and the gun policy.

Baguette et Chocolat is still open for business. On Monday, Sheri Soltes, a candidate for Texas House District 47, organized an “eat-in” for the bakery on Sept. 23, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

“Texas business owners have the right to prohibit customers from bringing guns into their business,” Soltes wrote in a news release. “Baguette et Chocolat took a stand against gun carry in their bakery. For that, they are being attacked by an ex- customer. Now it's our turn to stand up for them! Austinites will be supporting these brave bakers with an Eat-In. We’ll be bringing signs, streaming on social media and showing everyone that we support local business, immigrants and gun-free zones.”

'Revenge of the Nerds' actor,  NFL star Bernie Casey dies at 78

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 10:14 PM

FILE - In this May 23, 2014 file photo, Bernie Casey appears after a performance of
FILE - In this May 23, 2014 file photo, Bernie Casey appears after a performance of "The Tallest Tree in the Forest" in in Los Angeles. Casey, the professional football player turned actor known for parts in "Revenge of the Nerds" and "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka," died Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, in Los Angeles after a brief illness. He was 78. (Photo by Ryan Miller/Invision/AP, File)(Ryan Miller/Ryan Miller/Invision/AP)

Iconic star of “Revenge of the Nerds” and “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka” Bernie Casey died Wednesday in Los Angeles, according to reports.

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Having spent the last few days in the hospital, the beloved actor and former NFL star died peacefully in his sleep surrounded by loved ones after recently falling ill.

In 1969, Casey made his acting debut in “Guns of the Magnificent Seven,” and he went on to co-star in over 80 films. His most recent roles include “When I Find the Ocean” (2006), “Babylon 5” (1995) and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” (1994). 

Before turning to acting, he was a standout NFL star, spending six years playing for the San Francisco 49ers and another two years with the Los Angeles Rams.

Casey also had a strong passion for the arts, being especially fond of painting and poetry.

He was 78.

Texas judge nominee equated transgender children, Satan

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 9:19 PM


Jeff Mateer, President Donald Trump’s nominee for federal judge and a top official in the Texas attorney general’s office, has come under fire after CNN reported Wednesday that he called transgender children evidence of Satan’s plan and argued that gay marriage would lead to bestiality and multiple-partner weddings.

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The quotes from Mateer were taken from two 2015 speeches given while he was general counsel for Liberty Institute, a legal advocacy group that operates from a conservative Christian perspective and is now known as First Liberty Institute.

In a May 2015 speech on “The Church and Homosexuality,” Mateer said acceptance of same-sex marriage could lead to disturbing changes in accepted matrimonial practices, CNN said.

“Why couldn’t four people want to get married? Why not one man and three women? Or three women and one man?” he asked. “I mean, it’s disgusting.”

“There are people who marry themselves. Somebody wanted to marry a tree. People marrying their pets. It’s just like — you know, you read the New Testament and you read about all the things and you think, ‘Oh, that’s not going on in our community.’ Oh yes it is. We’re back to that time where debauchery rules,” CNN quoted Mateer as saying.

He also criticized Colorado parents who sued a school for refusing to let their transgender daughter use the girl’s bathroom.

“Now, I submit to you, a parent of three children who are now young adults — a first-grader really knows what their sexual identity? I mean, it just really shows you how Satan’s plan is working and the destruction that’s going on,” Mateer said.

In a separate speech in November 2015, CNN reported that Mateer expressed support for conversion therapy, which seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation, often through religious means – a practice that leading psychiatric, medical and pediatric organizations have criticized as harmful.

Mateer criticized California and New Jersey for banning conversion therapy, which he described as “Biblical counseling” at a conference hosted by Pastor Kevin Swanson, who preaches that the Biblical punishment for homosexuality is death, CNN said.

“And if you’re giving conversion therapy, that’s been outlawed in at least two states and then in some local areas, so they’re invading that area,” Mateer said.

On Sept. 7, Trump nominated Mateer, the top executive in Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office, to be a U.S. district judge in Plano.

Senate confirmation is needed before Mateer can take a lifetime appointment as a federal judge. The Senate Judiciary Committee has not yet acted on his nomination.

24-pound cat needs new home, help to slim down after Irma

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 9:03 PM

A 24-pound cat (not pictured) is up for adoption in Florida after Hurricane Irma.
Tollkühn/ullstein bild via Getty Images/ullstein bild via Getty Images
A 24-pound cat (not pictured) is up for adoption in Florida after Hurricane Irma.(Tollkühn/ullstein bild via Getty Images/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

A sweet -- and very large -- feline could be classified as a Hurricane Irma victim, but instead she’ll probably become famous as she goes viral. 

Faye, weighing in at a whopping 24 pounds, was dropped off at the Jacksonville Humane Society in Jacksonville, Florida, and is up for adoption Wednesday.

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Facebook post about the cat went up Tuesday night and had already been shared more than 600 times by Wednesday. 

According to the shelter, the 12-year-old cat is an attention hound and needs a loving home where someone will help her cut back on food and treats. 

“Faye loves attention and likes when you scratch right above her nubby tail,” the post said. “She will need a loving home to help her lose weight at a slow and steady pace outlined by our veterinarian.”

Faye was brought in after Hurricane Irma, but her owner contacted them before the storm for help, so shelter officials aren’t totally blaming the storm.

Those interested in adopting Faye or other pets at the North Florida shelter can visit the Jacksonville Humane Society website