How to Stay Safe with Electricity

Posted in: Electrical Tips for the Home

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At a basic level, most of us know that electricity is dangerous. Generally speaking, we should not fool around or try to fix electrical problems ourselves as these are best left to trained, skilled and experienced electricians.

However, because electricity is all around us, it is important to have some knowledge of the electrical dangers that we can be faced with. This knowledge can help us to be safe around electricity and ensure that we are not exposed to any unnecessary electrical risks.

At no time should any of us ever forget that we can easily be at risk of electrocution. With this in mind, the importance of professional electrical services to respond to problems when they do arise is all the more significant.

Even when we think that we are behaving in ways that are completely safe, electrocution can happen and so it is helpful to know what you should avoid and where the major risks can be found.

In and around the home:

Any person puts themselves at a significantly increased risk of injury or death if they are:

  • Attempting to rewire or replace a switch, power outlet or plug
  • Attempting to do their own electrical repairs on appliances including: washing machines, toasters and irons
  • Attempting to install or change electrical wiring.

What should you do (or refrain from doing)?

  • Always be mindful that electricity and water do not share a harmonious relationship. Do not use wet hands to touch electrical appliances, switches or power points and do not use electrical appliances in wet areas. It follows that it is incredibly dangerous to use hair dryers near a bath or sink, but scarily, this remains a very common practice.
  • Electric heaters should not be used in bathrooms unless they have been specifically designed for use in wet areas. The safest heaters that are intended for use in bathrooms are most often included as part of a lighting fixture.
  • Kites and model or electronic planes should not be used near overhead powerlines. Toy planes and kites should be flown in big open spaces (including parks, on beaches and at sportsgrounds) where there are few powerlines and, if present, they are predominantly out of sight.
  • Trees that are located anywhere near powerlines should not be pruned by just anyone. If you have a tree that is entangled or close to powerlines, call in a professional to have it pruned professionally.
  • Although it can be very tempting to do some electrical repairs yourself, doing so really is not worth the risk. Trying to complete electrical work yourself is both dangerous and illegal.

Around water:

  • Any generators on your property need to be kept in an area that has plenty of ventilation. Be careful not to overload powerpoints and generators should not be connected to your home wiring system unless a qualified, experienced and licenced electrician carries out this task.

In storms:

  • Storms, powerful winds and extreme heat can cause damage to power networks. Most of us can think of times when we have been inconvenienced by power blackouts as a result of extreme weather conditions.
  • Items can blow into overhead powerlines during storms, posing the risk of injury, damage to property and interruptions to the electricity supply. Storms can also result in live powerlines falling to the ground – this is incredibly dangerous as fallen powerlines can cause fatalities.

What can I do myself?

Some simple and relatively straightforward jobs involving electricity, such as: changing a light bulb or resetting a safety switch, can be done by a person without specific electrical training. However, for the vast majority of tasks, it is essential that you seek the services of a licensed and qualified electrician.

The dangers of electricity should never be down played. A licensed electrician should always be accessed when electrical repairs are needed and when the majority of electrical services are required.