The Most Important Human Safety We Forget at Home
We are a surviving species as survival is at the core of our existence today. As Darwin correctly pointed to the fact of ‘survival of the fittest’, we are alive today because our ancestors were fit enough to survive the onslaught of wars, climate change, celestial events, and other catastrophes. They are the reason why we exist today and we continue to survive as we become increasingly aware of the dangers surrounding us and consciously avoid them. However, we tend to ignore a very real threat lurking in our very own home.
Homes are powered by electricity and every device and appliance we use today is run on it. Although electricity is extremely useful and vital for our survival, the same thing can kill us in an instant if we come in contact with it. Electricity is deadly yet we do not fully know its potential effect on us. For instance, a mere 500mA current can result in immediate cardiac arrest resulting in the death of the person who comes in contact. When an individual comes in contact with 70-100 mA current then it will lead to cardiac fibrillation; a condition in which the heart starts to vibrate and it is no longer beats in a steady rhythmic state. This condition cannot be reversed.
A 20-30mA current level can result in muscle contraction that can in turn lead to respiratory paralysis. A little less, 10mA current can have a magnetic effect on the affected person as the person will remain stuck to the conductor. A 1-10 mA is the amount of current that causes the prickling sensations in humans.
From these facts, you can very well imagine the amount of current flowing all around us that can pose a danger to our life. Even an average fast charger has a current rating of 2A and the laptops that we physically touch while using can have up to 5A power adapter. We often buy a surge protector to safeguard our cherished devices and appliances but we do nothing about human safety.
Now, if you are wondering whether there is such a thing as human safety then you will be surprised to know that there is actually a switchgear device that is dedicated to protecting humans from electrical shocks and leakages. RCCBs or Residual Current Circuit Breaker is a mechanical switching device designed to make, carry, and break currents under normal service conditions and to cause the opening of the contacts (disabling electric flow) when the leakage current attains a given value under specified conditions. RCCB is also popularly known as ELCB helps in protecting human life against fatal electric shocks as well as providing protection against fire caused by earth faults.
Primarily, RCCB protects humans against electrocution. It does so by detecting small currents flowing to earth and thereby reducing the risk of electrocution. It also provides protection against indirect contact. Overload current protection devices (such as MCB) that can be easily found in every other household is unable to act promptly on small earth leakage currents.
When we talk about house fires as a result of faulty wiring, the majority of fires that occur are initiated by the current that flows to the earth. An incident of fire can be started by a faulty current that can be as little as 1A. A fuse or an MCB that is a usual domestic overload protective device will not detect small current. A proper RCCB will detect this faulty current and immediately interrupt the supply, therefore reducing the risk of a fire from starting. Although an MCB is critical for any home to protect the devices and appliances, a RCCB is critical to protect human life.