Electricity - Friend or Foe?
There is no doubt that in the home electrical faults are the top cause of fires, which is the opposite of fires at work (this is because at work equipment and circuits get tested – at home they generally are not).
During 2011/12 there were 37,601 accidental fires of electrical origin and 244 deaths! Of this 11,954 were cooking appliances, 2,899 electrical supply, 1,083 washing machines and tumble driers, 767 lighting and 475 dishwashers!
What is not available is the number of fires caused by chargers overheating, there is certainly records of these being the cause of some fires.
I hope we all know the dangers of electricity and no-one has any of these culprits in their home – if you have then get rid today!
Even extension boards are unsafe – quote I heard the other day – they are supposed to be a temporary solution not a permanent one! If you are going to have an extension board in situ for a length of time then make sure it is fused, and perhaps even surge protected into an RCD socket.
If you find a fault at home, but more especially at work then unless you are employed as a qualified electrician then you must not attempt to repair it! Either call an electrician or take it to the dump.
If you do see someone experiencing an electrical shock then you need to know what to do. The electricity will have found a route through the body to ground – don’t add yourself into this circuit!
DO NOT touch the person until you are sure the electricity is off, otherwise there will be two casualties.
Use something that is not conductive (a wooden broom would be good), to move the electrical items away from the person.
If they are conscious take them to hospital (even when they say they don’t need to), as electricity will track through the body until it finds ground. This could mean going through the heart – there may not be any pain or other symptoms but the organs could still be burnt.
If they are not conscious call 999 or 112 as this will be an emergency!