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View Full Version : Rescue 911 Episode #419H - Hedge Trimmer Electrocution


OldLawnMowerMan81
01-18-2011, 06:44 AM
Have any of you guys ever saw this episode of Rescue 911 (hosted by William Shatner, whose more famous role was as Capt. James T. Kirk on the NBC sci-fi series Star Trek), where a guy named John gets the shock of his life from an old early '70s Black & Decker electric hedge trimmer?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mwaps5-1KU

This event originally happened on August 10, 1991 somewhere in Cincinnati, OH, and was reenacted on the March 2, 1993 airing of R911. This segment is appropriately titled "Hedge Trimmer Electrocution."

What John failed to realize was that the hedge trimmer, obviously then at least 20 years old and not a perfect runner then (his wife, Connie, said the tool was falling apart), has a 3-wire cord. which is frayed (not double insulated, grounding required) and the mistake he made involved putting a 2-wire adapter on the plug and then plugging it into the GFCI outlet, which accepts 3-wire plugs. He got the shock and fell down to the ground (the shock knocked him out cold) when he had one hand on the trimmer and the other on the fence. This is what made the situation awful: metal conducts metal, and the electric current transfers from one hand to the other. WARNING: Do not operate hedge trimmer with one hand and put the other on the fence or shrubbery; always have both hands on the trimmer.

As you may soon know, this trimmer, besides the fact it is not double-insulated, also had a slide-type switch rather than the trigger switch used on models made since the later '70s and '80s (when safety on these and especially lawn mowers became a big concern). That meant John was unable to shut the unit off after he fell down from the shock.

~Ben

Lefet
01-18-2011, 06:59 AM
Even better warning, DON'T bypass safety interventions (didn't need the adapter) THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE THERE FOR!!!

OldLawnMowerMan81
01-18-2011, 07:12 AM
Even better warning, DON'T bypass safety interventions (didn't need the adapter) THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE THERE FOR!!!
His wife says the power cord was frayed. That too could've been a possible explanation for that tremendous jolt. If he wouldn't have used that 2-wire adapter, God only knows, I think that he may not have been shocked (again, I am not sure because of the frayed cord).

BTW: The B&D trimmer is a model #8100 13" single-edge unit.

~Ben

Lefet
01-18-2011, 07:17 AM
His wife says the power cord was frayed. That too could've been a possible explanation for that tremendous jolt. If he wouldn't have used that 2-wire adapter, God only knows, I think that he may not have been shocked (again, I am not sure because of the frayed cord).

~Ben

And how would the adapter help that?
He's a very fortunate man.

OldLawnMowerMan81
01-18-2011, 07:38 AM
And how would the adapter help that?
He's a very fortunate man.
We both know it didn't. Again, the truth lies in the fact that had he not used that 2-wire adapter, he may have been fine that day doing his work. And if the unit did end up faltering on him, it would've shut down, his wife says.

~Ben

Jimslawncareservice
01-18-2011, 12:35 PM
i remember that one from a long time ago. i wonder why he used the adapter. it showed him plugging it into a 3 prong outlet. i think he may have touched the fence the same time the frayed wires did.

one way this could have been avoided was hired professionals to the job. i live in a town with around 25000 people. it seems like every year there are 25- 30 people injured doing somthing that they dont either have proper tools or know how.

OldLawnMowerMan81
12-08-2012, 12:17 AM
i remember that one from a long time ago. i wonder why he used the adapter. it showed him plugging it into a 3 prong outlet. i think he may have touched the fence the same time the frayed wires did.

one way this could have been avoided was hired professionals to the job. i live in a town with around 25000 people. it seems like every year there are 25- 30 people injured doing somthing that they dont either have proper tools or know how.
On the Rescue 911 Wikia entry regarding this episode, the reason John used the 2-wire adapter on the extension cord was due to the extension cord's 3-wire plug being wobbly. And if that was the case, he should've bought a new 3-wire extension cord. That would have helped.

Again, John should never have touched that fence with his other hand... both hands should remain on the tool. And if he needed to do something that he had to take one hand off the trimmer, turn the tool off first.

~Ben