Prevent Electrical Hazards In The Home

Electricity is a necessity but it is one of the most dangerous things lurking in our home.

You can’t hear it, see it or smell it but an electrical hazard not only causes irreparable damage in seconds, it can kill.

Here are some of the most common electrical hazards that can occur in the home and how you can prevent them.

Some of the most common electrical accidents:

  • Frayed and worn electrical cords, cracked or split plugs

    electricity (Photo credit: Terry Freedman)
  • Hairdryers, hair straighteners, electric razors and various electrical appliances being used in or around the bath.
  • Overloading a single appliance plug with several items.
  •  Leaving small appliances plugged in all day even when they are not being used.
  • Leaving outdoor appliances plugged in around wet areas like near sprinklers or near a puddle.
  • Touching plugs and sockets with wet hands.

Steps To Avoid Injury or Death

The best way to avoid electric shock in the home is to have an RCD (residual current device) fitted in your fuse box. These can be easily installed by an electrician. This means that any electrical malfunction in the home can be stopped in milliseconds. Any injury a person suffers will be considerably less serious and it is unlikely to kill, with the use of the RCD device.

-You should always inspect your plugs and their cords for wear and tear and if you spot any damage, even a slight fraying, you should not ignore this or attempt to fix them using tape. Simply replace.

-If an appliance begins to spark, smell strange or different, or get very hot, hotter than normal, this should not be used and should be replaced.

-Do not plug too many things into one socket that require a lot of power, for example, plugging in a kettle, toaster and an iron into one socket and using them all the same time. This not only draws a lot of power, it is a fire risk.

-Never ever use any electrical appliance when you are in the bath or near the bath and avoid the use of any electrical device when in a wet area. If you must use an electrical appliance in a wet area, wear rubber-soled shoes.

-When unplugging something always switch off at the mains first. And do not pull the cord to remove the plug, always hold the plug and remove. Never try and plug an appliance into a plug socket that’s not suited to the local voltage, for example; a 110 volt contractors power tool could be damaged and potentially cause a fire if plugged into a standard 240 volt socket.

-When replacing a light bulb, turn off at the mains first before unscrewing the bulb.

-Keep children well away from electrical appliances, placing them out of reach or in a hidden location. If you have particularly young children, invest in plug socket covers or protectors, these are plastic covers that simply plug into the socket itself, covering the terminals and stopping children pushing a foreign object into the plug, risking electric shock, injury and potentially death.

-Do not attempt any electrical repairs yourself; even things like replacing light fittings, even if you think that you know what to do, always enlist the help of an electrician and make sure that the electrician you select is licensed and fully qualified.

This post was written for Juice Electrical by B. Frisby.

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