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?
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.