Electrical Danger at Lake Ozark
Water and electricity do not mix.
Fire officials urge owners to get the electrical wiring on their docks inspected more frequently. They say regardless of the age of a dock, precautions must be taken.
Lake resident Louise Cooper has the wiring on her dock checked often. She says after hearing about electrocutions years after year, checking her dock has become a priority.
"It can be life or death," Cooper said. "You have to get electric right on the dock."
Cooper's neighbor George Grateke builds and repairs docks, and says he's seen the effects of faulty electrical wiring on animals.
"The raccoons had been swimming in the water, and come up and touch the dock, and die," Grateke said. "And it would do the same thing to the human being."
Grateke says he has the solution to preventing electrocution, and it starts with a small rod.
"I drive that rod and put a piece of copper wire about as big as a lead pencil, tie it to that rod into the dock on the metal part of that dock," he said. "And it grounds it and any kind of electrical shock will go right to the ground instead of a human being."
Fire officials say people should not only check their own dock, but also encourage neighbors to do the same.
"Every year, there is always some electrocutions, and it's not always from the dock that you're swimming at," Lake of the Ozarks Fire Chief Gary Woodson said. "It can be a neighboring dock that is not maintained well. As I said, water and electricity don't mix."
Cooper says the carelessness of others scares her.
"People are too big in a hurry, or they're having too much fun and not they're paying attention," Cooper said. "They're not slowing down."
Lake Ozark fire officials are working with Ameren. The company is responsible for notifying new dock owners about the need for electrical inspections.
Fire officials are responsible for conducting the actual inspection.