Accidents by electric shocks rise in the city, by the day, even as BESCOM talks of awareness programs.
Bangalore grapples with cases of electrical accidents, shows a data report by the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (BESCOM). The fiscal year of 2018-2019 saw 136 cases where people died of electrocution and 91 non-fatal cases, in addition to 56 cases of animal deaths. This makes it a total of 283 electric accidents with an 18.4% hike compared to the last year.
Cables hanging loose on the footpaths and low hanging wires are not a rare sight in the city, despite the rise in accidents. Sagnik Ghosh, a resident of Indiranagar said, “During Christmas, 2019, I had to step over or duck under a lot of wires lying on the sidewalks in and around Indiranagar and MG Road. A lot of people were out on the streets, if anyone got electrocuted, I really wouldn’t be too surprised.”
Statistics of the past years show that 2016-2017 saw 235 cases; 2017-2018 saw 239 electrocution cases, while 2018-2019 saw 283 cases.
BESCOM is responsible for power distribution in eight districts of Karnataka (Bangalore Urban, Bangalore Rural, Chikkaballapura, Kolar, Davanagere, Tumkur, Chitradurga, and Ramanagara). It covers an area of 41,092 Sq. Kms. with a population of over 207 lakhs.
According to an analysis done by Bescom, there are seven categories under which these accidents have taken place. Among them, snapping of conductors, accidental contact with live wire, lack of supervision, and violation of safety norms and defective appliances top the list.
“Festive times are the most dangerous times as people go out in groups, block sidewalks, and are usually not aware of the surroundings. They also tend to use electricity illegally by hooking, not understanding the accidents it may cause,” Ms. Savitha, a BESCOM official of the Quality Standards and Safety Department, told the Softcopy.
Bescom has now also started creating awareness against electrical accidents that happen due to ignorance by circulating pamphlets on social media and by Bescom officials in various areas. On May 20, 2019, Bescom put up a pamphlet on its social media page titled, ‘Safety of your life is our priority’ and shared tips for people to avoid electric shocks.
Dr. Suvam Pati, a general surgeon, has shared a few tips on what should be done in case of an electric accident. He said, “Move the source of electricity away from you and the victim, using a dry, non-conducting object made of cardboard, plastic or wood. Begin CPR (a medical technique for reviving someone whose heart has stopped beating by pressing on their chest and breathing into their mouth) if the person shows no signs of circulation, such as breathing, coughing or movement. Try to prevent the injured person from becoming chilled. Apply a bandage. Cover any burned areas with a sterile gauze bandage, if available, or a clean cloth. Don’t use a blanket or towel, because loose fibers can stick to the burns. Patients with electrical injury should be initially evaluated as a trauma patient. Airway, breathing, circulation, and immobilization of the spine should be performed as a part of the primary survey.”
BESCOM has also set up a 24×7 WhatsApp service to record and report grievances on safety issues. Consumers can also text on 9483191212 or 9483191222 or can use the app named BESCOM Mithra.