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Ice Bucket Challenge: When People Get Hurt by Social Media Charity Dares

By now, you’ve probably watched more than a handful of Ice Bucket Challenge videos uploaded by your friends, family, and coworkers on social media. This was a viral fundraising effort sponsored by the ALS Association meant to raise money to support victims of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease that currently has no cure. The Ice Bucket challenge is a seemingly harmless social media campaign, where participants dump water over themselves and make a donation to the ALS Association in an effort to raise awareness. Participants also challenge their peers by naming them in an Ice Bucket Challenge recording. However, these dares have the potential of causing injury to participants who decide to take these stunts to the extreme.

Firefighters in Critical Condition

The Ice Bucket Challenge took an unlikely turn that proved to be nearly fatal for firefighters in Kentucky. The Campbellsville Fire and Rescue Department arrived at Campbellsville University to dump icy water on the marching band and film it. Unfortunately, the bucket got too close to nearby power lines as the firefighting team adjusted the ladder. Two personnel members were standing inside of the buckets and were shocked. Another two firefighters were shocked by standing below, near the ladder, which transferred electricity. One of the firefighters was admitted in critical condition, with another in stable condition. The two men shocked on the ground were sent to a hospital for observation and then released.

Unfortunately, this Ice Bucket incident turned dangerous due to the proximity of the fire truck to the power lines. According to the Campbellsville Police Chief Tim Hazlette, the ladder, truck or bucket didn’t need to come into contact with the power lines in order to create a risky situation. Electricity can arc “within a distance of 3 to 4 feet,” putting people at risk when equipment moves within this proximity to power lines. This incident is a somber reminder that even trained emergency professionals can get caught in the path of trouble.

400 Gallons of Water from a Plane

You can probably already tell from this subheader that things won’t turn out well. In another Ice Bucket mishap, a 51-year-old Belgian photographer was hospitalized after a stunt that took place near Girona, Spain. Ironically, it was the pilot of a fire-fighting plane who agreed to dump 400 gallons of water on the photographer, who stood just 22 feet underneath the airplane. The man was knocked out by the force of the water and admitted to a hospital in critical condition.

These unfortunate incidents may continue to occur as Ice Bucket challenge participants attempt to gain viral views. The “one-upmanship” mentality of these charity dares can escalate the risk involved with a challenge that was originally meant to be simple, safe, and funny. These stories should serve as cautionary tales to future challenge participants to keep things safe. Additionally, organizations that decide to rely on future viral dares should keep these incidents in mind, and actively discourage participants from extreme, risk-taking behaviors that can spoil the fun for everyone.

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