Next time you're in your doctor's office, take a look at all the electrical outlets. More than likely they are upside down compared to the outlets in your home. Ever wonder why?

Household Outlet

Household Outlet
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Medical Outlet

Medical Outlet
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Outlets in the U.S. have three openings.  Two that look like slots and one that's more of a hole. The two slots are the ones that carry the electricity and the other is neutral or 'ground'. The 'ground' portion of an outlet won't hurt you if you come in contact with it.  However, if you come in contact with the two slots at the same time, since the human body is mostly water, you could be electrocuted. That's a major factor in the reason outlets are upside down in medical facilities.

If a cord plugged into an outlet in your home became pulled out a bit, but still connected, and something touched or fell onto the two prongs, you could be electrocuted.

DO NOT TRY THIS

Household Outlet With Dangling Cord
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DO NOT TRY THIS

Example Of How An Outlet Could Electrocute You
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If the same scenario took place in a medical building, you wouldn't be hurt because the object would come in contact with the 'grounded' safe part of the outlet. Of course this is providing the building is wired properly to code.

DO NOT TRY THIS

Example Of The Benefits Of Having An Outlet Upside Down
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A doctor's office, medical facilities and hospitals can sometimes be very chaotic environments. Equipment to keep patients alive and well can be plugged into wall outlets all around the patient. And in the rush to save someone's life, can be moved and jerked.

In the event a plug is pulled away from a socket and another wire or a metal object in the room fell across the exposed prongs, there would be no harm to the equipment or people in the room. The wire or metal object would hit the 'ground' prong first causing no harm.

DO NOT ATTEMPT: Never ever stick anything into an outlet that is not meant to be plugged into it. Never touch anything protruding from an outlet. These pictures were used for educational purposes only.