It is observed that majority of house and office fires are initiated from electrical malfunction or failure. Electrical fires involved lighting or electrical equipment like air conditioners, electric heaters, irons, fans, extension boards, etc. In many of these cases, the resulting deaths, injured and direct property damage could have been avoided.
We all know that prevention is better than cure and fire prevention is the best way to protect our family. Surely, that starts with ensuring that our electrical systems and appliances are functioning properly and safely.
Now, what is the date of your monthly electrical safety check?
Run through this checklist regularly, since electrical malfunction can happen at any time and for many reasons.
- Check all cords, plugs, surge protectors and extension board cords for frayed casing, exposed wire or broken components. Replace immediately.
- Never run extension cords under carpets or over door thresholds.
- Don’t use an extension cord as a permanent fixture. If you need additional outlets, contact a licensed electrician to install some wherever you require.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for plugging a device into the outlet.
- Do not overload one outlet with several high-wattage or heat-producing devices, for example an iron, toaster, sandwich maker or tea/ coffee maker.
- Plugs should fit snugly into outlets. If yours do not, contact a licensed electrician.
- Major appliances – washers, dryers, refrigerators, stoves, air conditioners, hot water heaters, etc. – should be plugged directly into a wall outlet. Do not use surge protectors, plug strips or extension cords.
- Only use water resistant extension cords in damp areas (like the basement).
- Always check your outlets for discoloration or warmth
- Only use light bulbs at or below the maximum operating voltage mentioned on your lamp or light. (There will be a sticker on the appliance indicating maximum operating voltage.
- Always place stand/ table lamps on a flat, level surface and at least one foot away from anything flammable (e.g., curtains).
- Place heat-producing appliances (toaster, heater, coffee maker, etc.) away from flammable or combustible goods (potholders, paper napkins, etc.)
- Unplug kitchen countertop and bathroom appliances (e.g., toaster, mixer-grinder or hair dryer) when not in use.
- Keep your kitchen exhaust fan clean and free of grease, lint and other obstructions.
- Never use a portable heater in the bathroom. The only safe options are a ceiling unit or strip heater placed up high.
- If you use portable or space heaters, be sure they have the ISI mark on it.
- If you have young children, consider re-outfitting your home with tamper-resistant (TR) electrical receptacles. Always deploy a licensed electrician.
- Residual Current breaker with Overload protection (RCBO) is a special type of circuit breaker which provides protection from both short-circuit fault and also from the leakage current and shuts off the supply detecting any leakage/ overload when dangerous conditions arise. Ask a licensed electrician about installing RCBO of proper rating at your home for safety of the family members and the inmates.
If you experience any of these warning signs, call your landlord or a licensed electrician immediately:
- You feel a tingling sensation when you touch a plug or light switch.
- Your circuit breaker flips frequently or fuses blow regularly.
- An appliance gives off a faint rubbery or burning smell.
- Your outlet plates are warm to the touch or discoloured.
- An electrical appliance has been waterlogged or submersed in any liquid (throw away immediately).
- An outlet sparks.
- Your lights dim or flicker.