Wow, Pastor Gil was right all along...

originally pulished 8/1/2006
moved from the old blog

One of our pastors has always made a big deal out of people not touching the microphone during baptismal services. (Being Pentecostal, baptismal services involve full immersion; I'm not sure if the issues would be different for infant baptism...) Those "in the know" have always mocked this pastor for his misunderstanding of the electrical theory behind the dynamic microphones we use on stage: the amount of current generated by the magnet moving in the coil could not possibly cause bodily harm. If, in a rare case, we were using a powered electret or condenser microphone, the 48 Volts are nonetheless of such insignificant current (a few miliamps) that there is no risk whatsoever, even if you dip the mic into the tank. (The water damage to the fragile materials of the capsule inside the mic is always more serious than the risk of electrical damage.) After reading the following, I'll take Pastor Gil's warnings more seriously in the future...

From the Houston Chronicle: WACO - The family of a pastor who was electrocuted during a baptism in front of 800 church members has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against an electrical contractor.
Jennifer Lake, widow of the Rev. Kyle Lake, pastor of University Baptist Church, is suing MP Electric Inc. of Waco, seeking unspecified damages on behalf of herself and their three children.
The lawsuit alleges MP Electric was negligent in the design, assembly and installation of the church baptistry heaters, resulting in the electrocution death of the 33-year-old pastor during an Oct. 30 baptism.
MP Electric owner Mark Perry deferred comment on the lawsuit to Dallas attorney Jim Grau.
"MP Electric is saddened by the death of Pastor Kyle Lake and the tragic loss experienced by his family and church members," Grau said, declining further comment.
Lake's parents, David and Shirley Lake of Tyler, also are plaintiffs in the suit, filed this week by attorney Ralph McBride of the Houston-based law firm Bracewell & Giuliani.
According to the lawsuit, both baptistry heaters reportedly overheated sometime before Lake's death. That allegedly caused severe damage and exposed the electrical components to direct contact with the water passing through the heater pipes.

Remember, kids, AC Voltage only hurts you if it has a place to go. Standing in the baptismal tank you'd be fine, until you touch something outside the tank that's grounded... like a microphone that's connected to a mixer that's well-grounded by design. Note to self: use a shotgun mic that's a good distance from the tank. Also, check baptismal tank electrics for faulty wiring. Also: don't buy a hot-tub with an immersed electric heater. Links to story found here.

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