Electricity is an energy that is often abused and misused. A lack of awareness and often a lack of plain common sense result in extremely hazardous practices. To minimise these hazards it is vitally important to follow appliance/tool manufacturer instructions, building codes/regulations regarding wiring and electricity usage. Tamper-proof fuses or circuit breakers (trip switches) must be installed.
- A qualified licensed professional must conduct wiring installations-money well spent now on a proper and safe installation could save you thousands after a fire due to an electrical fault.
- Enough electrical outlets must be provided to prevent the use of multiple or long extensions and adapters being used.
- Supplying other properties or buildings with long extensions, especially if they cross streets can lead to accidental electrocution and fire.
- Extension cords carry less electricity than permanent wiring and can therefore take less before overloading results.
- Using too many appliances on one circuit can cause overloading and excessive heating of wires causing insulation and surrounding combustible materials to ignite.
- Open broken or deteriorating insulation can cause short circuits, overheating and fire hazards.
- Electrical cords must never be placed under rugs or carpets as pressure from people and equipment moving over this can cause resistance and a heat build up causing the carpet to ignite.
- Electrical cords must never be used in areas where a person could trip over it or as permanent wiring.
- Never use more than one cord in sequence.
- Light bulbs, lamps covered with a cloth, paper or other fabric can ignite.
- Failure to find the cause of the circuit breaker tripping or fuse blowing can lead to a fire.
- Never “test” an electrical wire by touching it, it may just be LIVE!
- Use safety-cover plugs to prevent young children and infants from placing objects or fingers into the sockets.
- Turn off the wall plug before connecting or disconnecting any appliance.
- Dimmed lights, reduced output from heaters and poor television pictures are all symptoms of an overloaded circuit.
- Add up the wattage of electrical devices and lights on each circuit and keep the total load at any one time safely below maximum capacity.
- When using a high wattage device such as a heater, iron or power tool, switch off all unnecessary lights and devices. Try to connect into a circuit with as little electrical power demand as possible.
- Never touch any device or person in an electrical emergency, including water or fluid.
- Always switch off the main supply to the affected area and ensure that it is off.
- Locate and clearly mark switches with the areas that they are connected to.
- Notify the responsible people or company of an electrical fault or an emergency immediately.
- Remove a person that is in contact with an electrical device after switching off the mains and only with a non-conducting material (e.g. rope).
- Warn others of an electrical danger and keep them away.
- If you are inside a vehicle that is in contact with downed electrical wires, stay inside until professional help arrives. If this cannot be accomplished due to other safety factors, then try to jump from the vehicle without touching the ground and the vehicle at the same time.
- If you attempt to fight a small electrical fire, first activate the fire alarm as well as alert the fire department. Switch the power source off as soon as possible.
- Always unroll an extension cord to its fullest before energising.
- Cords must not be run over, knotted or twisted as this can create resistance and insulation damage.
- Inspect extension cords regularly for damage and deterioration as well as secure and properly sealed plug ends.
- Special cord covers can be used to prevent children from removing plugs from the outlets.
- Keep cords away from young children and infants as they may put them into their mouths and bite the cord. Roll up and store cords after use away from children.
- Unplug extension cords when not in use.
- Never use a faulty appliance or one that has a damaged cord.
- Always use a properly connected and suitable plug with a compatible electrical outlet.
- Keep stove plates free from oil.
- Never attempt to carry a pot or pan with burning oil, as spills will spread the fire (possibly onto you).
- Keep cloths, rags away from hot appliances.
- Never connect any appliance to a light connection. This can easily cause a fire because the wiring for lights is thinner than for plugs.
- If there is a power failure, immediately switch all appliances off, especially stoves and heaters. The power may be restored when you are asleep.
- Never switch on or use any electrical appliance with wet hands, in the bathroom or swimming pool, as water will conduct electricity.
- Always unplug heat-producing appliances when not in use, especially irons and heaters.
- Keep hot appliances in a safe place until cool.
- On/off switches can fail, always unplug an appliance when not in use.
- Never use a stove as a heater.
- Avoid drying or warming clothing or shoes on or near a heater.
- Let heaters breathe. Heating appliances should be at least 1m away from anything that can burn, including people and pets.
- Children must never play near a heater or a fireplace as they may fall and be burnt or injured.
- Never use steel eating utensils or any steel object to remove objects out of an appliance (especially from a toaster), ensure that the appliance is off, cool and safe to probe.
- Never hold an electrical appliance in one hand and touch any metal object or water with the other. Make sure that the appliance is switched off first.
- Unplug all appliances when not in use and store in a safe place.
- Keep out of and away from electrical installations and sub-stations.
- Do not climb up electrical pylons or poles.
- Do not damage or throw rocks at insulators or electrical boxes.
- Keep well away from overhead power lines. If the lines are down on the ground and you approach the line, an electrical arc can “jump” and make contact with you.
- Never fly kites or model aeroplanes near power lines.
- Never mow wet grass with an electric lawnmower.
- Thatch roofed or wooden houses should have an approved lightening protection system with a lightning rod to effectively ground the electrical charge, which can prevent a possible fire.
- During a storm stay or go indoors and keep away from fireplaces, stoves, telephones or any grounded objects.
- If outside, stay away from trees, wire fences, steel sheds or any open and exposed area. Lay down if necessary and leopard crawl out of the area.
- If possible get to and stay inside a vehicle or caravan and wait the storm out. Avoid seeking shelter in a tent.
- Never fly a kite, play golf or use an umbrella in a lightning storm.
- Stop playing any sports in an open field (e.g. soccer, rugby) and move indoors.
- Stay away from pools and lakes or any open body of water, even if you are in a boat.
- Portable heaters can either be electric powered or fuelled by gas (LPG), liquid fuel (paraffin), or solid fuel (usually wood).
- Always operate any heater at least 1 metre away from any combustible materials (including wallpaper, bedding, pets and the clothes that YOU are wearing).
- Never operate heater below any material that may fall onto heater and cause a fire.
- Never use a heater to dry clothes or shoes.
- Never place heaters on cabinets, tables or any furniture as it could easily be knocked over.
- Keep children well away from heaters and never leave a heater in operation and unattended, especially with children around.
- Never use a heater that does not have a protective screen covering the heat coils.
- Turn heater off when leaving home or when going to sleep.
- Never use an electric heater in a bathroom or switch it on with wet hands. Doing this will increase the chance of an electrical shock.
- Avoid using extension cords with electric heaters. If you must use an extension cord, make sure it is marked with a power rating of at least as high as that of the heater itself. Keep the cord stretched out and do not walk or place any pressure on the cord. Do not place cord under a mat or carpet. Do not coil the cord around any objects or hang it on a nail.