From an early age in life, we are taught that, like fire, electricity can be very dangerous, and should always be handled with care. With our world so dependent on, and filled with electric infrastructure and appliances, breakdowns and accidents can, and do, happen, and lack of safety precautions can make these worse. So how can we better protect ourselves? How can we prevent these accidents from being even more lethal and dangerous? The key is learning and maintaining basic electricity safety rules/guidelines, some of the most important of which I will share below. Some of them may seem obvious; but even the most level headed among us can forget to use common sense if they are not extra vigilant and aware of the full dangers. These guidelines do not encompass every situation or aspect, but they will help you use and interact with electricity in a smarter and safer way, and help reduce the risk and potential damage of any electric shock injury.
20 Tips To Keep You Safe
- Never touch any electric device/source with wet hands (or when your body is wet from perspiration or the shower), when there is dampness around it, or if you are standing on a wet floor. The water can help conduct electricity and make it easier to be shocked.
- Never stick your bare fingers or anything, other than a plug, into an electric socket.
- Never pull out a plug by its cord as this can damage the plug or even pull the socket out of the wall and make the socket dangerous.
- Sockets that are not properly secured to the wall must be repaired immediately because they increase the risk of electric shocks and fire.
- Do not touch any high voltage power device when you are barefoot. In case of electric shocks, insulation (such as rubber-soled footwear) between you and the floor can save your life.
- Always assume that a circuit/socket/electrical device is energized and handle with care.
- Do not plug in a damaged appliance, or one with frayed/torn wires. These can lead easily to both fire and electric shocks.
- Try not to use an aluminum or steel ladder when changing a light bulb or trying to plug something into a high socket, an electrical surge can ground you and the entire electrical current will pass through your body. Use a wooden or a fiberglass ladder instead.
- Be cautious when using outlet splitters, and only use them in moderation as needed (don’t overload them with power thirsty appliances), as they can increase the risk of a short, fire or electric shock due to adding more power strain than intended on a specific outlet. Never chain multiple outlet splitters together, since this obviously increases that risk.
- If liquid does spill into an outlet or an electric device that is plugged in, immediately shut off the main power switch, and call a professional in the former example or wearing non-conductive gloves and rubber-soled footwear, carefully unplug the device in the latter example.
- Check and make sure that your home/office has at least one residual current device/breaker (the RCD is designed to disconnect the current and prevent further injury in case of an electric shock), and that it is functional. You can check this out easily from time to time simply by pressing the button on the breaker; if the fuse does not fall, there is a problem and it needs to be fixed by a licensed professional.
- Never try to fix electric problems yourself. Contact a trained and licensed professional. You can read more about this in my previous article about certified electricians.
- Never cover up, or place items on, high wattage devices that heat up and especially not on devices meant specifically to provide heat such as electric radiators. Though there is no flame here that will cause something to burn immediately, it will eventually cause a fire if that item is flammable.
- In locations such as the kitchen and bathroom, where there is a lot of water usage and higher potential for accidents, always be extra careful when handling electric appliances and keep these uses to a minimum. Always make sure plugs in these areas are dry when plugging them in.
- If a person comes in contact with, and is shocked by, an electrical device/current, do not touch the equipment, cord or person without first disconnecting the main power fuse at the circuit breaker and then using a non-conductive object to move that person away from the electric current source.
- Make sure to have your home/office inspected to ensure that it is up to code and that you have proper grounding.
- Never use broken outlets or outlets that have changed color and appear burnt (likely from a problem with their insulation). These are extremely dangerous and need to be repaired by a professional at once.
- Any electrical devices producing a static electricity “tingle” should be carefully disconnected and reported to a professional promptly for repair. This can be revealing of faulty insulation.
- Never store highly flammable liquids or items near electrical equipment/sources. In case the electrical equipment/sources do spark, you do not want a fire to easily spread and cause even more damage.
- Never climb electric poles or try to touch electric transistors. For some reason, kids find these particularly alluring and there is a good reason why there are signs that say “Do not touch. Danger of death!” Both of these have powerful electrical currents running through them that can kill, so everyone should avoid them.
These twenty guidelines will help keep you and your family safe and help reduce the risks inherently existing in the modern electrified world around us. It is always a smart idea to teach these to younger children, so they will also recognize the danger and be equipped with the knowledge to avoid it.
Join me next time here at efestakalot.com as I share twenty tips for lowering your electric bill. Have a wonderful and safe day!