So much of our lives today depend upon electricity that we can be forgiven for taking it for granted. We are used to seeing power lines everywhere and accustomed to being able to plug in our devices anywhere that we can become complacent and even unaware of the risks associated with electricity. In this article we will discuss some of the major risks and dangers associated with electricity, how to mediate them safely and what to know before starting on any electrical work, (hint: don’t call an electrician!).
Despite its ubiquity, electricity really is a wondrous thing that requires respect. Don’t plug all your appliances into one socket, don’t daisy chain power boards and extension leads. Respect there is only so much power per outlet and spread your appliances accordingly.
Keep cords and wires tidy, not only could pets or pests chew on them but tripping on wires is dangerous.
Be very careful of keeping electrical things away from water. Most electrical accidents are caused by using electricity near water.
Electricity Can Kill, Extremely Quickly
Never, ever, plug exposed wires or put a fork into a power socket. Don’t use a hairdryer while you are in the bath. These kinds of mistakes can be fatal. Literally.
Interestingly, amperage has more of an impact that voltage. High amps are more dangerous than high voltage. Amperage refers to the quantity of electrons moving, while voltage pertains to how strongly the electrons are being pulled through the circuit. When a flow of electrons, electricity, enters the body it causes burns and interferes with the normal electrical signalling happening throughout the body. This is why paralysis can be the first felt effect of electrocution, and why if you grab an electric fence with a closing hand it can be nearly impossible to let go where the back of a hand can bounce off from the shock.
Do not Undertake Electrical Work Without a Ticket
The reason so many people take electricity for granted is because electrical work needs to be carried out by professionals and when they do their job properly the risks to persons and property are correctly minimized. If you don’t know what you’re doing it is easy to hurt or kill yourself or more commonly put the entire property at risk in future years as connections become unstuck, degrade or blow due to faulty installation. Unlicensed electrical work, while not only being dangerous and illegal it will also void the warranties associated with your appliances. Don’t risk it, hire a professional electrician today.
Disconnect Sensitive Devices in a Blackout
Whether you’ve just a circuit breaker trip or your whole house has blacked out, unplug sensitive electrical devices from their sockets. When energy returns the voltage and waveform can take a few moments to normalize but the initial spike may fry sensitive equipment. Surge protecting power boards can also help to reduce this risk.
Be Familiar with Your Switchbox
The switchbox for your house should be one place you are familiar with regardless of your electrical know how. When you overload a socket in your house, or a sudden surge knocks out the lights in your kitchen, it is usually a very easy thing to fix. Unplug sensitive appliances and those demanding a high load from the circuit and then reset the circuit breaker in your switchbox. It will usually be obvious which circuit has tripped as all other switches will be in the on position while one will be in the off or halfway position. It is important to push a tripped switch all the way to off before switching it to on. If the switch flicks right off there is still a fault with the circuit and remove any further appliances attached to the circuit before you try again.