Have fun - Safety tips for electricity

Using electricity safely is a combination of using your common sense and knowing where the potential dangers are and how to minimise them. Here are some great ideas for keeping your family safe.

Kitchen

  • If you have children, put a detachable guard rail around your cooking elements.
  • Don't let pan handles or electrical cords hang over the edge of your stove, where children can reach them.
  • Keep your stove top clear of everything except cooking utensils.
  • Never run a cord over your stove top.
  • Don't leave cords and appliances near wet areas.
  • Never fill your kettle while it's plugged in.
  • Dry your hands before touching power points (this applies wherever you are in the house).
  • If toast gets stuck in your toaster, unplug it before trying to get the toast out.

Bathroom and laundry

  • Don't use extension cords in the bathroom or laundry.
  • Keep appliances away from wet areas.
  • Heaters and heated towel rails should be permanently wired by a registered electrician.
  • Clean your dryer's dust filter regularly to remove the risk of fire.

Hot water safety

  • Even the recommended temperature of 50 - 55ºC can cause burns. Always treat hot water with extreme care.
  • Install a hot water mixing valve to control the temperature of your tap water.
  • Make sure taps are clearly marked hot and cold.
  • Always run the cold water first when running a bath, then add the hot water.

Bedrooms

  • Keep heaters away from overhanging bedspreads and duvets.
  • Switch off heaters before you go to bed.
  • At the start of winter, ensure your electric blanket is safe by turning it on to its highest setting for several minutes and checking to see if any part of it is overheating.
  • Switch your electric blanket off before you get into bed.
  • If you spill liquid on your electric blanket, switch it off at the wall immediately.
  • Never use a hot water bottle and electric blanket at the same time.

Living areas

  • Keep heaters away from curtains or table cloths.
  • Don't place vases or fish tanks near electrical appliances.
  • Don't run electric cords through doorways or windows where they could be jammed.
  • Don't place cords under carpets or where there is frequent foot traffic.

Keeping your appliances safe

  • Replace damaged plugs or frayed cords immediately.
  • If an appliance begins to smoke, you notice a burning smell or you get a slight shock, switch it off at the wall immediately and either replace it or seek advice from a registered electrician.
  • Don't overload your power points. If you need more power points, contact a registered electrician to have them installed or make sure you have a multi-plug board with a built in overload switch.

Being safe with electricity outside

  • Only use one-piece extension cords. Never, ever plug two cords together.
  • Don't use electric mowers or hedge clippers in the rain or after heavy dew.
  • When using a mower or clipper, keep the power cord clear of the area you are working in.
  • When working outside, use a Safety Switch (Residual Current Device) or an isolating transformer. The Safety Switch automatically disconnects the circuit if there is a leakage to earth and the possibility of an electric shock.

Overhead powerlines

  • Keep extension ladders, boat masts and window washing equipment away from power lines.
  • Never climb anywhere near power lines.
  • Don't let children fly kites near power lines. If they do fly a kite near lines, and it becomes tangled, make sure they know never to try to retrieve it. Warn them not to climb power poles, pylons or substations.

Home safety checklist

If you answer 'No' to any of these questions, either fix the problem or contact your electrician immediately.

  • Do you have enough power points in your home, eliminating the need for overloaded multi-plugs?
  • Are your power points in good condition?
  • Are all power points firmly attached to the wall?
  • Are all your plugs in good condition?
  • Are all the cords and connections to the plug in good condition?
  • Are all the power points in your kitchen placed in such a way that you don't have to reach over toasters, kettles or ovens?
  • Are all your appliances in good condition?

Article from: www.mercury.co.nz