What to Do in an Electrical Emergency
We all take electricity for granted in our homes. However, poor wiring and faulty appliances can present potential dangers in the home. Although you should contact an electrician if you have any doubts, use this practical guide as a starting point for what to do in electrical emergencies.
Causes of Electrical Shocks
There are a few potential causes of electrical shocks in and around the home. Some of these include:
- Appliances. Faulty appliances with worn wiring can increase the risk of electrical shocks. Never use faulty appliances but replace immediately.
- Damaged cords. Damaged or faulty cords, including extension cords should be discarded and replaced.
- Faulty household wiring. Faulty household wiring is a common cause of electrical shocks.
- Water. Keep electrical appliances well away from water as the two can lead to shocks.
If there are any areas in your house with faulty wiring, you should seek electrical services and have it checked out.
Always stay prepared with an updated list of emergency contact numbers and fire extinguishers.
- Emergency contact numbers. Keep this list displayed in a visible area such as the fridge.
- Fire extinguishers. These should be kept up to date. Industrial sites and factories should stay prepared with a sufficient number of fire extinguishes and emergency routes.
In Emergency Situations
Electrical emergencies can be frightening and it’s important to keep as calm as possible. In the event that you do encounter an electrical emergency, take swift action and contact emergency services as soon as possible. The person who has received an electric shock may not be conscious, have trouble breathing, have burns on their body, and have a weak pulse.
Fallen Power Lines
In the event that someone receives an electric shock from a power line, stay calm and follow these steps.
- Don’t touch the power line or the person as you could get a shock as well.
- Call emergency services right away.
- You may also need to contact your local electricity company.
- Keep the shocked person warm, lying down, and still until the ambulance arrives.
Appliance Electrical Shock
In an appliance electrical shock, the person receives an electrical shock from an appliance such as a toaster, a hairdryer, or hardware equipment.
- Refrain from touching the person who has received the shock as you could get injured as well.
- Unplug the appliance and turn the power off at the premises’ main power switchboard to avoid any further damage.
- Call your local emergency services. You should arrange for an ambulance to come as soon as possible.
- Keep the injured person still and lying down until the ambulance arrives.
Electrical fires can be caused by storing flammables near a lightbulb or from exposed, overloaded wiring. If an electrical fire breaks out, follow these steps.
- Never use water on electrical fires as this could further fuel the fire.
- Call the fire brigade immediately. If someone has been injured, call for an ambulance.
- Use an electrical fire extinguisher if you have one onsite and are sufficiently trained to use one. Otherwise, leave the site immediately.