Electric shock can cause hospitalisation or death, and it is an almost totally preventable accident. Here are seven quick tips to help you reduce the risk of becoming a statistic by helping to prevent electric shocks around the home.
1. Electricity and Water Don’t Mix.
Keep all electrical appliances away from water such as sinks, laundry tubs, pools and baths. If you accidentally drop an appliance into the water while it is plugged in, don’t reach in to retrieve it or attempt to unplug it.
Go to your fuse box and switch off the power circuits (it is safest to flick the “all power” switch). If you have kids – take them with you to the fuse box to stop them being tempted to touch anything.
Once the circuit is off, you can then safely unplug and remove the appliance from the water. Let the appliance fully dry and then take it to your electrician to test whether or not it is safe to use again.
Also, don’t use electrically powered tools outdoors in wet conditions. Don’t use your electric mower, shredder, or whipper snipper until the grass is dry and all puddles have cleared. Remember to also dial before you dig to stop you digging through electricity supply cables running through your property.
2. Be Cautious Around Powerboards
Powerboards are brilliant: They give you the easy convenience of extra sockets where you need them. But there are few things you need to be aware of before you plug any appliances into them.
- Only use powerboards that comply with Australian Safety Standards, ideally with overload protection built in. Cheap imported boards may not comply.
- Remember that each powerboard has a maximum load. If you plug in a number of heavy use appliances (kettles, heaters, irons, dryers) into the one board you can overload the board causing a tripped circuit or a fire.
- Don’t add double adaptors to powerboards or add one board onto another board. You are increasing the risk of overload and shock.
- Don’t use powerboards in dusty environments like a toolshed or workshop.
- Don’t spray cleaners, insecticides or detergents directly onto a powerboard.
- Ensure that plugs fit firmly into the socket and be careful not to touch the metal prongs when removing a plug from a powerboard.
- Powerboards are designed for short-term use only. If you find you have a board in everyday use, consider getting additional power sockets installed.
3. Care For Your Extension Leads
Extension leads are the workhorse of many homes. They are also one of the most common causes of electric shocks.
- Be careful when using electric garden tools that you don’t accidentally cut the extension lead.
- Never run an extension lead under carpets or blankets as the heat from the cord may cause a fire.
- Never nail, staple or tack a cord down. You could break the insulation and expose live wires.
- Watch for teething puppies. Extension cords can be highly tempting to young puppies to chew on (especially ones under a bed).
- Ensure extension cords are fully unwound before using, as the heat may cause spot melting of the insulation, exposing live wires.
- Always check each extension lead and sockets before use. Never use damaged leads, or leads with loose wires or sockets (and no, electrical tape wound around the top of the lead near the socket is NOT enough).
- Periodically check all extension cords that are in use to make sure they are not pinched under furniture. Too much pressure can damage the insulation or create excess heat.
4. Cover Your Sockets
Young kids are notoriously curious and will put things into power sockets. Install power socket protectors on each socket in your home. You can buy cheap plug in protectors, or we can install ones with built-in retractable covers that snap back when not in use.
5. Replace Dodgy Wall Plates
Power and light wall plates not only look good, they stop fingers from getting in contact with live wires. If your wall plates or switches are cracked, loose, broken or just plain dodgy, get us to replace them for you.
6. Replace Damaged Equipment
Any equipment that sparks, gives off a burning electrical smell, gives out small electric shocks, frequently trips your circuit breaker, or has frayed wires needs to be fixed or replaced.
Remember to never wind electric cords tightly around appliances such as hairdryers or hair straighteners. We had one client that did that and ended up in hospital for her troubles.
Never attempt to DIY electrical work or electrical repairs. It is illegal in QLD and could cost you your life. If you need any form of tool to fix something electrical, call an electrician.
7. Install a Safety Switch on Every Circuit
Circuit breakers save homes. Safety switches save lives. Install a safety switch on every circuit of your home and protect the lives of those you love.