Creative Destruction

September 13, 2006

Great … Another Thing to Worry About

Filed under: Current Events,Personal Ramblings — Brutus @ 2:55 pm

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.



  1. Wow.

    Thanks for the heads-up, Brutus.

    Comment by nobody.really — September 15, 2006 @ 2:24 pm | Reply

  2. This is why I stay in the suburbs, where we’re safe.

    Hey, why is there a mother bear going through my garbage…

    Comment by Robert — September 15, 2006 @ 3:31 pm | Reply

  3. The only solution to stray voltage dangers is to have the on site real time warning system called the Electrified Cover Safeguard installed on all street lamps, manhole covers and utility boxes. The technology makes a audible warning such as a beeping sound as well as a flashing light to warn people and pets not to step on or touch dangerously charged manhole covers and street lamps. Periodic testing of the infrastructure is not good enough, since one second, something can be ok and just a few moments latter, can become electrified. The company that invented the Electrified Cover Safeguard, seems to have patented the concept of an on-site real time stray voltage system. More information on this technology can be found at

    Comment by Adam — December 3, 2008 @ 12:41 pm | Reply

  4. While I commend Frank Didik’s brilliant Electrified Cover Safeguard, I just wanted to inform you of, a timely and useful tool intended to reduce the year-round risk of injury and fatality from stray voltage. And so you are aware, I have met with Con Edison’s Stray Voltage Unit and was the first non-electrical representative to be invited to the Jodie Lane Fourth National Conference in May. It is my firm wish that Creative Destruction will disseminate this vital public service as quickly and as widely as possible to preclude more tragedies. Further, StreetZaps fully anticipates more summer than winter episodes in the years ahead.

    Comment by Blair Sorrel — February 27, 2009 @ 4:00 pm | Reply

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