• Electricity travels at 186,000 miles a second close to the speed of light.
  • Electricity is always trying to get to the ground.
  • To get there, electricity will always take the shortest, easiest path it can find. (The thing that provides the path is said to be "grounded.")
  • If living things provide the path to ground, the electricity can kill them.

Conductors provide easy paths for electricity. Some conduct electricity more easily than others.

Insulators provide difficult paths for electricity. Some provide more difficult paths than others.

What is Electricity?

Electricity Safety for Children

Electricity is the flow of current. Due to this flow, a device such as an electric bulb glows.

Click the switch 'ON', to see the bulb glow.

Click the switch 'OFF', to stop the flow of current.

Observation: The current flows inside the bulb. Also, current is available in the circuit; when the switch is on. When the switch is off, there is no flow of current. So the bulb stops glowing.

This is what Electricity is!

By the use of electricity we can drive motors, electric fans and many electric appliances such as a toaster, a television, an electric iron etc.

Where does Electricity come from?

Electricity is produced in Power Generating Stations. It is produced by rotating thick coils of wire inside very huge magnets. We transmit electricity through wires. Firstly, transmission of electricity is made via wires known as 'Transmission Lines' which are strung on towers. These transmission lines terminate in various intermediate places known as 'Sub Stations'. Here the heavy voltage is reduced through a device known as 'Transformers'. Then from the transformers by the use of overhead or underground electric lines, electricity is transmitted to the 'Load ends' (streets, houses, factories, etc.).

Electricity Safety for Children

It is basically a closed circuit through which electricity flows. We close the circuit with switches. Now, whenever, we switch on any electric appliance (say an electric fan), it works (i.e. in this case the fan rotates). When we switch off, the electric appliance is detached from the electric circuit. So there is no flow of electricity. Hence, the electric appliance does not work.

How does Electricity travel?

Electricity Safety for Children

Electricity travels through 'Conductors'. A conductor is a material through which electricity flows easily.

Metal is a good conductor. This is the reason why wires are made of metal. Electric wires starting from generating stations to transmission lines to sub stations to transformers and finally into buildings or into your house; are made of metal.

Water is a great conductor of electricity. Please remember that your body contains mostly water. So, electricity can travel through you!

Caution: If electricity travels through you, you may be injured or even killed. So be careful!

Electricity travels in the speed of light i.e. 186,000 miles per second. So it travels much faster than you. It will give you no time to react. So, it is better and safe to be away from electricity.

What are Insulators?

Electricity Safety for Children

Insulators are used to keep electricity in power lines. Materials like glass, porcelain and plastic are used as insulators in power lines. If the insulator breaks, the power line disconnects from the insulator and as a result of this disconnection, the electric line can fall on the ground and energize the area around. If you touch this line, you will be injured or even killed. Even if the wire falls on your vehicle, it is energized by the wire. If by chance you touch the wire and the ground simultaneously, you will be hurt or killed. So do not touch any electric wire falling out from a power pole.

Rubber and plastic insulators are used around electric wires to keep the electricity inside. So even if you touch such insulated cable, you do not get shock. If the insulation is broken or worn off, the electricity can come through and shock you. Similarly, if you overload an outlet by plugging in too many things, then due to unusual flow of excessive current, the electric wire will over heat the insulator. As a result of this the insulators will burn, which cause shock or fire hazard.

How can Electricity hurt you?

When electricity travels through you, it can hurt you. Usually electricity finds the easiest path to earth or the ground. If you are in between ground and electricity, it will travel to the ground through you and you will experience electric shock. As a result of this, you may be hurt or killed.