| Last week I said we’d talk about ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI), but before we get to that let me provide a little background on how I recently came to be a subject matter expert for The Discovery Channel.
The program I was asked to contribute to is titled, “Curious and Unusual Deaths,” where I will be discussing a variety of tragic occurrences, including deaths by electrocution. It’s actually slotted to be a series of half-hour segments presenting, you got it, some of the strangest, most grizzly, tragic, or simply avoidable deaths from across the globe and throughout time.
The episodes use actors to recreate the incidents, which take place in a variety of locations, from the home to the workplace. After presenting a graphic portrayal of the unfortunate event, experts, including myself, provide an explanation of the science behind it all. Cinematic recreations and high quality computer generated imagery are used to recreate how the deaths occurred as well as illustrate the experts’ explanations.
It all started when I was contacted by a researcher for the program. She had discovered me through this very blog site, the Engineering Expert Witness Blog, and was impressed with my diverse background, which as my loyal readers know covers both mechanical and electrical engineering. She also liked the fact that I’ve worked professionally within many different industries. Needless to say, I was flattered.
She went on to explain that she was interested in discussing with me the technical aspects of four particularly unusual but actual incidents that had proven to be deadly to those involved in them. The deaths were due to a variety of factors, from a steam pipe failure, to contacting high voltage electronics through a seemingly benign unplugged appliance, to succumbing to carbon monoxide poisoning produced by a propane heater, and finally, the one I thought to be most unusual of all, a death caused by touching a hotel room door that was, unbeknownst to the person inserting the key in the lock, charged with stray electrical current from an unlikely source. Sound interesting? Look for the series to air in the near future to find out more.
We discussed the incidents by phone for awhile, and then a week later I received another call inviting me to fly up to Toronto, Canada, to be videotaped as an expert for the series. Now, although I do not have a ham bone in my body, I do enjoy sharing my knowledge of technical things with others, so I gladly took her up on the offer.
Tune in next week to read the insider’s track on the making of a quality television series.