Here are some quick tips to make sure you and your family are safe around electricity in your home.

  • Keep all cords and appliances dry and clear of water or damp areas both inside and outside.
  • Always have dry hands when touching electrical appliances or sockets.
  • Use Residual Current Devices (RCD’s) in the damp areas in your home, such as the bathroom, laundry, kitchen, garage, pools and spas, or when working with electrical equipment outside (An RCD monitors electric currents flowing along a circuit. If it detects a current being diverted to the earth (such as through a person), it cuts the power off instantly – preventing an electric shock being fatal.
  • Make sure all electric cords are in good condition before using them. Check for any damaged or exposed wires, fraying or cracked leads, and cracked or broken power sockets or plug tops.
  • Replace any damaged leads or have them professionally repaired.
  • Limit the number of appliances plugged into a socket or extension cord, to avoid overloading. Use one heater only per wall socket.
  • Check and replace any wall sockets where the plug does not fit firmly into the outlet – a loose contact is unsafe.
  • When not in use, switch them off at the wall and unplug them.
  • Buy the latest electrical safety products when renovating and rewiring your home.
  • Use safety devices such as recessed and shuttered sockets, shrouded plugs and RCD’s.
  • Always employ a licensed electrician for electrical repairs, to ensure the work is done to legal safety standards. Ask to see their practicing licence and make sure you receive a Certificate of Compliance for all electrical work done on installations and fittings (except maintenance work such as replacing sockets and light fittings). Ask for an Electrical Safety Certificate for repair work done on appliances.
  • When changing fuses or doing electrical work around the house, or if there is an electrical problem, always disconnect the power by turning the main power switch off first.

Remember, a heater is a fire hazard. Follow the ‘Heater Metre Rule’ and keep heaters at least one metre away from bedding, clothes, curtains, rugs and furniture.

Recognise the warning signs

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
  • damaged insulation or fittings – such as cables, flexes, cords, and switches showing exposed wiring.

Safety guidelines

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, check out Work Safe New Zealand's handy safety advice.

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