According to UK government statistics, around half of all domestic fires are caused by electricity. Electricity is a wonderful resource and can vastly enhance our daily lives, but if it is not used safely, then there is a real risk of injury and death. It’s important to be aware of potential hazards and know how to spot warning signs if you and your family are to be kept safe. If you notice a problem, make sure you have it corrected immediately. Electrical problems should not be left ‘until tomorrow’ as they can be very serious.
It’s essential that you and your family are aware of the various warning signs when it comes to electrical circuits and appliances. These include burning smells, buzzing or crackling sounds, blown fuses or circuit-breakers tripping. You can avoid creating hazards by preventing sockets from being overloaded, using equipment correctly and only using appliances that are in full working order.
Plugs and Sockets
You should only use plugs that bear the British Standard safety mark as these have pins (both live and neutral) with insulating sleeves that allow them to be pulled in and out of sockets safety. When removing a plug from a socket, don’t yank it by the cable. This may seem obvious, but it can damage the connection between the plug and socket and result in overheating, loose wires or an electric shock. If you have curious young children, it’s a good idea to invest in plastic socket covers so that they can’t hurt themselves. Damaged cables should be replaced immediately, as touching exposed live wires will result in electrical shocks, than can be fatal.
Avoid Common Mistakes
If you’re thinking of undertaking any electrical maintenance work, make sure you’ve completed the relevant electrical training course like those available from PASS. All appliances should be unplugged and allowed to cool before you attempt any maintenance. Make sure that flexible cables are not trailed under carpets, rugs or walkways because this can constitute both a fire and tripping hazard. It’s also important to make sure that live parts and water never connect in your home, as this can cause electric shocks or fire. Never dry clothes on an electric heater with water dripping on to live parts, as the ventilation slots need to be exposed to prevent the appliance from overheating.