As if we don’t have enough dangers lurking around every corner, from faulty drugs to emergent disease vectors to crime to environmental toxins to bits of falling buildings — oh, and let’s not forget terrorism — how lousy would be be to be struck down by stray voltage emanating from city infrastructure? The Chicago Reader reports on one fellow’s ordeal when he took his dog out for a walk and the dog stepped on a sidewalk with live current. The dog made a complete recovery, but other animals have been killed and some people hospitalized.
Similar reports come from Boston and New York, where at least one woman was killed when she stepped on an electrified metal plate near a bakery. Whereas those cities have responded with legistation mandating that utility companies conduct routine inspections to locate and fix instances of stray voltage, Chicago seems to have dragged its feet, waiting, perhaps, until something really ugly occurs.
There are lots of miserable ways to go, many of which are absolutely random and unable to be protected against unless you want to live as a hermit. Am I now going to ensure that all my shoes have soles of nonconductive material? The idea will definitely cross my mind with the next shoe purchase I make.