Safety Around Your Home
Electricity is energy. Through the movement of electrons, electricity has the power to heat, to light, to move things and to make things work. Electricity travels along a circuit. When you plug something in and turn it on, you complete the electrical circuit from the power station to your home. Electricity can flow through some materials easily, such as metal and water. These are called conductors. Materials, such as rubber, plastic, glass and ceramics are called insulators because electricity does not travel easily through them. An electrical current will flow to make a circuit. If something that conducts electricity gives it an easy path to the ground, it will take it. People are conductors of electricity as our bodies are mostly water.
Electricity is clean, efficient and instantly available for use. However, it cannot be seen or heard and has no smell. The risks involved with using electricity are electric shock, burns and fire. Electric shock can cause muscle spasms, breathing failure,irregular heartbeat, severe burns, unconsciousness and canit can kill you. Burns caused by electricity occur along the path the electric current takes through the body, including the skin, nerves, muscles and tissues. Fires occur when electrical appliances overheat, or when furniture and fittings come into contact with an electrical heat source such as a heater or stove. The New Zealand Fire Service estimates that 10% of all fires are caused through electrical accidents.
To prevent electrical accidents, be aware of the warning signs, including:
- a tingling feeling when you touch an appliance or fitting
- appliances or fittings hotter than normal to the touch
- fuses frequently blowing or circuit breakers tripping and needing to be reset
- dim or flickering lights
- unusual smells or noises
- scorch marks on plugs or sockets or any electrical appliance or fitting,
- power going off in your home unexpectedly, and
- damaged insulation or fittings – such as cables, flexes, cords, and switches showing exposed wiring.
We use electricity every day so it is easy to take for granted. This is when electrical accidents can occur. To prevent electrical accidents and stay safe around your home, follow the safety guidelines in the information links below: