It was on a fine morning in June of my Fourth Form year that I was summoned, together with four of my classmates, to the headmaster’s office! The person who summoned us was none other than the head prefect himself. While we headed unsteadily toward the headmaster’s office, we tried to figure out what offense we had committed to warrant this “call-up”. We could not think of any.
Presently we were at the headmaster’s office and what a surprise we received! Fifteen of us, from various classes, were made school prefects! It was far from some unpleasant event that we had expected. There we stood in the headmaster’s office; the cream of students, or so it seemed. It was a mixture of Form Four students mainly book-worms and demure little girls. I, for one, could not figure out the reason for my appointment as a prefect. I was neither a brilliant student nor a demure one.
So, began a completely new phase in my school life. It was strange to wear the blue shirt of a prefect and the extra heavy badge that threatened to tear a hole in my shirt. Also, I had to -change my school habits altogether.
The thrill and excitement of being a perfect gradually died down giving way to tedious hours spent on lonely corridors before school began in the morning and also during recess. Oh yes, a prefect has a certain amount of power over the other students, like ordering them to line up and not to enter the classrooms during recess. It was great fun being would have almost certainly resulted in a fire.
Besides this overloading of electrical sockets, other electrical dangers are also present. Touching an electrical switch with a wet hand is an invitation to an electric shock. It is a simple matter of wiping- the hand dries first, yet in one’s haste in the bathroom, the hand is often quicker than the brain. It is a matter of changing one’s habit.
Wiring contractors have a habit of locating electrical sockets near the floor where a two-year-old can get at easily. It is a good idea to cover these sockets so that initiative hands do not get at them.
Most modern houses now have concealed wiring in the walls. So, a careless do-it-yourself handyman can easily give himself a nasty shock by driving an iron nail through one of these hidden wires.
Electric kettles, electric irons, and cookers are all potential dangers if used carelessly. It is up to the user to recognize the dangers so that he can safeguard himself.
Another possible source of danger comes from the cylinder of cooking gas that is present in almost every kitchen. The cylinder is made of sturdy metal and can withstand a lot of abuse. However, there is a limit to the abuse it can take. Users who connect sub-standard cylinder-heads to the cylinder and users who bump the cylinders around are all asking for trouble. There are cases of these cylinders exploding resulting in death and serious injury. A little care on the part of the user can prevent such calamity from occurring.
Knives, scissors, can-openers, and other sharp instruments are also sources of danger. Visit any hospital and one can see all sorts of people there seeking treatment for cuts and bruises caused by these instruments. Though great care may be taken while using these instruments, accidents still do happen. One cannot ascertain that a knife does not slip while cutting an apple or that glass does not break while washing it.
Other dangers include a slippery floor, protruding nails on the wall, non-drinkable liquids in unlabelled bottles, broken furniture, uncovered food, unboiled water and numerous other things that we do not suspect as dangerous until we become a victim. Why lightning can even strike a person down right in his home! So there is danger everywhere. We can only recognize the possible dangers and take steps to prevent them, whenever possible.