Are Electric Fences Safe for Humans? Of course!
With the modern popularization of electric fencing both for animal control and security purposes there has been a large number of myths and urban legends regarding the invention, which have gotten a lot of people asking, are electric fences safe for humans? While electricity can be lethal at a high enough strength, most electric fences are not given enough electricity to cause any kind of serious damage either to people or animals, and electricity itself is actually much safer than commonly thought.
So how does an Electric fence work?
To understand the potential lethality of electricity, it helps to know how it affects the human body. People often refer to higher voltages as being dangerous, but it is actually the current that can harm us, as voltage merely refers to the difference in a charge between two points, while current refers to the rate at which the charge is flowing, and are measured in amps.
In fact, just rubbing your socks along the floor can produce tens of thousands of volts through static. Therefore, current results because of voltage, but is not equivalent to it. Electrocution occurs when a person comes into contact with a sufficiently powerful energetic source, and can result in burns, heart palpitations, tremors, and, if the current is high enough, even death.
While even the potential harm of electricity may make some people uneasy, the average electric fence has nowhere near high enough levels current to cause harm, despite having seemingly high voltage levels. For the most part electric fencing is used to keep animals in a certain area, usually domestic but sometimes wild, and is actually considered much safer to use than alternatives such as barbed wire, which can result in serious injury to animals that fall onto it. These fences are made safe by keeping the amperage low, and by sending the electricity in pulses, thus giving an animal that might get stuck on a fence due to muscle contraction a chance to move away. The shock the animal, or any unwitting humans, receives is very mild, and only lasts for a brief instance.
Electric fencing is also sometimes used for security purposes, as in the case of some prisons, and as a deterrent to keep people out of residential, or restricted military areas. These fences can either be a part of, or put atop a non-electrical fence, or as a standalone structure. These types of fences are equally safe to humans as they also carry only low current levels, and in a pulsation as is the case with electric fences used for animal control.
We can now see that, despite certain myths and controversies, the question are electric fences safe for humans, the answer is yes when used correctly. In fact they actually provide a cheaper, more humane alternative for security and animal control than choices such as barbed wire. As it is current, and not voltage that can be lethal, there is no need to worry over high voltage ratings. If you are wondering if electric fencing is right for your fencing needs there is no reason to worry about potential human harm, and there are many benefits to be considered.