Electrical Safety in the Home

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Electrical Safety-

The human body is made up of 70% water making it an excellent conductor for electricity. The effects of electricity are immediate making it almost impossible to pull away before being shocked.  It can cause severe damage to the body and even cause death depending on the voltage you are hit with. The effects of an electric shock are severe causing the muscles to tighten which can even prevent a person from pulling away from the source due to an involuntary grip. It will also cause the lungs to constrict making it difficult to breathe, blood vessels to tighten due to an interrupted heart beat and cause burns where the electricity enters and exits. This sounds scary but if you follow the rules around electricity you can use it without getting hurt. Home electrical appliances are where most people come into contact with electricity so making sure that you know how to act around these can prevent you from any nasty shocks.

We use electricity on a daily basis from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep. Because we are so dependent on electricity it is often easy for us to forget just how powerful and dangerous it is. The risk for an electrical accident is much higher than it used to be as the average household now has more than one television, a DVD player, a CD player, a microwave, a computer, a laptop, a games console and much more.  It is product misuse of such items that is the biggest cause of accidental household fires and the number continues to grow.

Electrical Safety

Overloading Sockets:

Having enough plug sockets in your home for the number of electrical appliances you have can be difficult. As a result many of us use extension leads that provide extra outlets for appliances that cannot be plugged into the wall. Most people get extensions with four extra sockets on them however they are available with more than this. Although you can see four spaces to use it does not necessarily mean that it is safe to do so. Before plugging in too many appliances into your extension you should…

  • Check the current rating of the extension to ensure that the appliances don’t exceed the maximum current rating
  • Never plug an extension lead into another extension
  • Use a multiway extension rather than a block adapter to limit the amount of strain put on the socket
  • Consider having more wall sockets installed if you rely daily on an extension lead

If using an extension you should regularly check for any tell-tale signs of danger that could lead to a fire or electric shock. These include…

  • The smell of hot or burning plastic next to a socket
  • Sparks or smoke coming from the appliance or its plug
  • Scorch marks on an appliance or around the plug socket
  • Damaged or frayed leads
  • Wires that are exposed from inside the tube
  • Checking for burnt out fuses

Beauty Appliances:

Beauty has always been something we are proud of, and the growing number of beauty products and appliances available on the market has made it much easier for us to keep on top of it. Over the years we have seen a rise in the number of electrical hair products available such as hair straighteners, curling tongs, curling wands and crimpers. Items such as these are able to reach temperatures of up to 220 degrees Celsius, a very high temperature that can cause severe burns and if unattended create a fire. When using hair appliance such as these it is important to ensure that you have a heat proof pouch to place them on whilst in use and for keeping them in when not in use. Always remember to switch these items off, unplug them and put them away to prevent any accidents from occurring.

Charging:

We use lots of electrical appliances that require charging in order for them to be turned on. Some of these things include mobile phones, e-cigarettes and hand held vacuum cleaners. When charging appliances it is important to make sure that they are not left on charge for too long as they can overheat and explode.  You should never leave appliances charging overnight or when you are out of the house as you are unable to monitor how they are getting on. There have been a number of cases where mobile phones and e-cigarettes have been left on charge for too long and exploded or created a fire. Always follow the charging instructions for the device.

DIY:

It can be tempting to try and fix household maintenance repairs yourself before calling for help from a professional.  Do it yourself DIY jobs however are the cause of over half of the number of electric shocks that happen in the home.  If you have any DIY jobs centred around your electrics make sure that you seek out the help of a professional to avoid any injuries. Electrical safety is paramount for ensuring that you and your family remain safe.

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