What to do in an electrical emergency
Electricity can easily be taken for granted. We rely on it most hours of every day. Failing to take proper care for and around electrical appliances can cause a difficult situation – outdated, poorly-functioning appliances and faulty wiring are just some things which can put us at risk of a costly and dangerous electrical emergency.
Types of electrical emergencies
The most common electrical problems resulting in emergency situations include:
Human bodies conduct electricity; if subject to electric shock in any area of the body, electricity can easily flow throughout the rest of it.
Electric shocks can last for a short or long time, and range in levels of seriousness. Naturally, the resulting effects can be minor and serious; small burns to skin tissue, up to heart interference and damage, often resulting in a stopped heartbeat.
It’s highly important that victims of electric shocks be examined by a medical professional, regardless of the severity.
What causes electric shocks?
Often, electric shocks occur as a result of mother nature, for example a strike of lightning, or an extreme weather event causing power lines to fall.
However, they can be caused by electrical problems in your home, such as:
- Frayed cords
- Damaged extension leads
- Poorly-installed/maintained household wiring
- Close proximity of appliances to water
How to deal with an electric shock
First and foremost, DON’T touch anyone who is, or you may suspect is suffering from an electric shock.
We advise you to turn the power supply off as soon as possible, before separating the victim from its source by using a non-conductive object.
Call triple zero (000) for an ambulance as soon as possible if an electric shock occurs in your home.
Fallen power lines
Powerlines can fall for a multitude of reasons, though the most common cause is impact with the pole (e.g. a car crashes into it), or weather (where very strong winds result lines falling to the ground).
It’s well communicated through media sources, such as television advertisements, that fallen power lines are a great danger to us. When fallen, all lines should be treated as alive, even if there’s visible evidence to suggest otherwise.
We advise you to stay as far away from grounded lines as possible, including objects in contact with these wires, and abnormally-low hanging power lines.
If you encounter a fallen powerline, completely avoid its vicinity and contact either:
- The police
- A relevant electrical entity
If you don’t properly take care of your electricity system and appliances, you’re running the risk of a fire breaking out on your premises.
Lower the risk of electrical fires
Often, the cause of electrical fires is outlet and appliance faults. Often with age, appliance cords can wear, exposing heat to surrounding surfaces and putting your home at risk.
Other common contributors to electrical fires include:
- Circuit overloading
- Knock-off appliance chargers
- Portable heaters
- Lights (too-high a wattage can pose a risk of flame production).
What to do in the event of an electrical fire
If there’s a fire in your home and you suspect it may have an electrical cause, remember to:
- Not throw water; this could result in conduction and possible electrocution
- Use a fire extinguisher to put out the flames.
- If smoke is coming from any of your appliances, wiring or outlets, turn them off, along with the main switch in your fuse box.
- Call emergency services as soon as possible if the fire can’t be contained.
Minimise your risk of an electrical emergency
Often, electrical emergencies are unavoidable. However, we recommend you take the common-sense approach and book a routine electrical inspection to ensure the safety of your home. Call Captain Cook Electrical on 0481 134 679, or fill in a booking form.