Electricity is an absolute must in the modern world, but with it comes numerous risks and potential hazards. Anything from a frayed cord to an overloaded circuit can cause a short or a spark, resulting in an electrical emergency. Poor wiring and faulty appliances can also present potential electrical dangers in homes and workplaces. Here is the proper way to handle an electrical emergency.
Here are some of the types of electrical emergencies that you should be aware of:
Human bodies conduct electricity; if subject to electric shock in any area of the body, electricity can easily flow throughout the rest of it. Electric shocks can last for a short or long time, and range in levels of seriousness. Naturally, the resulting effects can be minor and serious; small burns to skin tissue, up to heart interference and damage, often resulting in a stopped heartbeat.
Powerlines can fall for a multitude of reasons, though the most common cause is impact with the poles (e.g. a car crashes into it), or weather (where very strong winds result in lines falling to the ground). Fallen power lines are a great danger. When fallen, all lines should be treated as live, even if there’s visible evidence to suggest otherwise.
Electrical fires are most often caused by a faulty electrical system, although they can also be caused by faulty appliances. An electrical fire is extremely dangerous. Even if you get the fire out, you need to take immediate action.
Power outages, also called power failures or blackouts, are the most common emergency. Power outages can occur for many reasons and can be irritating or dangerous. If you have a power outage, you can regard it as an electrical emergency.
Here are some of the things you can do in case you’ve encountered an electrical emergency:
If one of your colleagues receives a serious electric shock, your first reaction will likely be to go to their aid. But first, stop and think. The human body is an excellent conductor of electricity, meaning that the charge that just passed through your co-worker could easily move into you if you make contact with them. Given that electricity has the capacity to kill or seriously injure, limiting the number of people exposed to the shock should be your number one priority.
In some cases, individuals can appear to be ‘stuck’ to electrical currents. What’s actually happening here is that the voltage is sufficiently high to cause the victim’s muscles to contract. This means they can’t let go of the cable or object administering the shock, which is clearly very dangerous. Additionally, be careful if there is water spilled on the site. Water conducts electricity, so until the power is turned off, take precautions when moving around the area.
Turn off the main power to all cooling and heating appliances that are powered through the circuit breaker. Make sure that you turn the branches off before the main circuit breaker. This way, you will be able to make sure that all the appliances are protected when the power is turned off after an electrical emergency.
The next thing to do in case of an electrical fire is to cut the power supply at the source. Flip the switch on your home’s circuit breaker box and cut the supply. This will stop the fire on time and reduce the risk of shocks if you are trying to put out the fire.
If you have one in your home, everyone should know how to put out an electrical fire with a fire extinguisher. If you were unable to cut the power to the source of the fire, you should only use a Class C-rated fire extinguisher. These use carbon dioxide or dry chemical extinguishers. If the power is cut, you should use a Class A extinguisher, which is water-based. Pull the pin, depress the handle and point the horn at the base of the fire before holding down the handle.
Continue dispersing the chemical until the fire is fully extinguished. If you are not sure of your fire extinguisher’s class, have it checked — Class A and Class C extinguishers are not interchangeable and should only be used in the described circumstances.
Without time, you can’t succeed at handling emergencies, so it’s crucial to call an ambulance as soon as possible when there are signs of electrocution or electric shock. And even with other types of injuries from electricity, such as burns and wounds, calling for professional aid could make the difference between life and death. Never hesitate to contact your local authorities if power lines have been downed too.
At Astley Electrical, we empower our clients with excellent service that comes from being more than 38 years in the industry. We ensure that your home’s or building’s electrical installation is professionally done to avoid any electrical faults and emergencies. Contact us to learn more and get started.