Accidently cutting a cord while it is still plugged in

ctblue796May 14, 2010

so today i was getting rid of this really old huge lamp that doesn't work and is broken in half with the cord still running through the two pieces, so i thought to myself, why won't i just cut the cord in half to make it easier for me to throw away, here is where my stupidity comes in. I didn't know that the lamp was still plugged in since it doesn't work anymore, so i cut it in half and a flash of light came out of the broken end of the wire that is still connected to the wall, which knocked the power out to some of the wall outlets. So what i did was go to the breaker and flip the switch to turn off the electricity and i turned it back on. Everything is back to working now, even the plug that the lamp was plugged in works, but should i be worried about any poisonous gases (Carbon monoxide)?. Help would be appreciated.

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No lingering problems once your heartrate returns to normal.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 9:48PM
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There is also probably a nice nick in the edge of whatever you cut the cord with.

The larger hazard is actually flying molten metal form the copper wires and the tool doing the cutting.

The arc is so short there is not significant UV exposure, and even the ozone production is very limited.

120 V is not 'hazard free' but under most circumstances you are more likely to be injured falling from the ladder after touching 120 V than anything else.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 11:16AM
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i wasn't on the ladder, the lamp was on the ground, but anyway, its all over now. I am fine, my electricity is working. I am very lucky that nothing happened. Thanks for the reply's.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 1:06AM
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The lamp was plugged into a wall outlet, not one of those lamps that are attached to the ceiling. Anyways, i learned my lesson about always checking to see if something is plugged in before i pull a stunt like this. Again i thank you all for the reply's

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 1:42AM
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Don't forget it only takes milliamps to stop the heart. The line is short between getting buzzed and shook up and having your mind separated from your spirit. A lot of people get 'lucky' and a lot of people don't.

The steps you take to make it safe before the work starts can determine how many steps you can take later.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 12:29PM
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"Don't forget it only takes milliamps to stop the heart."

It is mA per square centimeter, and it must flow though the hearty itself.

The normal skin resistance and cross section of the body and thorax is large enough to prevent enough current density at 120 V to be lethal.

This is one of the reasons we use this voltage.

If you are wet, sweaty, or otherwise have lowered the surface resistance the current can go up, and under perfect conditions a 12 V battery can kill.

A 1.5 V D cell can deliver more than enough current to kill (5-10 amps at short circuit).

The 1.5 V simply cannot drive the current through the bodies resistance enough to be dangerous.

While current is indeed the thing that can seize the pace node in the heart and kill, it still takes voltage to drive the current.

120 V is not perfectly safe.
There are numerous examples of it proving lethal, though all under far form normal circumstances.

It still remains that falling off the ladder you are perched on is a larger hazard then a typical 120 V shock.

There are real reasons electric chairs uses upwards of 2,0000 volts (along with salt water sponges to reduce the resistance in the circuit).

440 Volts is ery dangerouse.

Now the voltage is easily high enough to deliver lethal current.
Move up to 7,200 V (the low end of distribution for the POCO) and both shock and burns from the current flowing though tissue and cooking itt are a real hazard.

There remain a few linesman who have survived 7,200 V and even higher, but when the cases are carefully examined they are lucky that the current did not go through the thorax (or head).

It still leave them with significant burns, often of degree well above 3rd resulting in tissue death along the conduction path through the body.

120 V is not to be ignored, exaggerating the risks is not especially beatification either.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 8:45PM
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I am on the utility side and my message was more aimed at the DIY'er to keep their head in the game when working with or around electricity. I have no intention of exaggerating anything.. there are so many variables that go into the effects of a shock and what effect it will have in what situation it is staggering. I only want people to stop and think and take some extra steps to be safe.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 10:37PM
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