Professional Electrical Advice
Is your house fire safe?
Each year, Fire and Rescue NSW attends approximately 4,500 residential fires in NSW. The minimum requirements are to have one smoke alarm per floor installed in all businesses and rental properties. The NSW Fire Brigade strongly recommend that you also install smoke alarms outside all sleeping areas, inside all bedrooms and in all paths of travel between sleeping areas and exits to the open air.
As well as having adequate fire alarms installed, the NSW Fire Brigade asks that you:
- Have an escape plan in case of fire
- Never ever leave cooking unattended
- Make sure the chimney of your fireplace is clean
- Check electric blankets for damage or frayed cords before putting them on the bed
- Clean the lint filter in your clothes dryer after every use
- Only use one appliance per powerpoint and switch off when not in use
- Only use fuses of recommended rating and install an electrical safety switch.
- Keep a fire extinguisher and a fire blanket near the exit
Change your clock. Check your smoke alarm.
It is a good rule of thumb to test your smoke alarm twice a year. Mr Washer recommends that when you go to change your clock for daylight savings it is a good reminder to check your smoke alarm at the same time. It is critical that you have working smoke alarms installed in your house because it can take just three minutes to lose your home and family to flames in the event of a fire.
Did you know:
- There are about 11,000 house fires recorded in Australia every year.
- One in five Australians will experience a house fire in their lifetime.
- More than 50 deaths are recorded in Australia each year as a result of accidental house fires.
- The majority of these deaths occur between 9pm and 6am.
- You are four times more likely to survive a house fire if you have working smoke alarms installed.
What to in the event of an electric shock:
- Disconnect the power supply. DO NOT touch the victim until you are sure that there is no live electric current. Be particularly careful in wet areas.
- Check for a pulse and breathing. If necessary, begin resuscitating the victim.
- Call triple zero (000) for an ambulance. The ambulance call-take will be able to give you resuscitation instructions over the phone if need be. This will help you increase the patient’s chance of survival until the ambulance gets there.
- If the person is responsive and breathing, tend to their injuries. Cool the burns with cold water. NEVER put ointments or oils onto burns. If the victim has fallen from a height, avoid moving them unnecessarily, in case of spinal injuries.
- Talk calmly and reassuringly to the victim.
How to avoid electrical hazards in the workplace:
- Make sure all workers have had training in electrical safety and know how to correctly use appliances
- Get a licensed electrician to install safety switches
- Get a licensed electrician to regularly test equipment
- Regularly check electrical leads for fraying or damage. Do not use appliances that show any sign of damage.
- Install more power points rather than use double adapters or extension leads.
- Keep leads out of walkways
- Wear appropriate protective gear as required
- Fit guards to equipment where appropriate
Why electrical safety is so important in households with children:
Every year in Australia approximately 100 children under 15 years of age are hospitalised as a result of electrical-related injuries. Over 50% of cases require significant treatment or hospital admission. At least one child will die per year as a result of these accidents. Children aged 10-14 years are at the highest level of risk due to their increased use of electrical items.
Most injuries are caused from general appliances, frayed electrical cords and overhead power lines. Keeping this in mind:
- Have appliances checked regularly by a licensed electrician.
- Replace frayed cords or broken power points as soon as possible. An exposed wire can cause electrocution or start a fire.
- Install safety plugs to prevent children poking objects into unused power points.
- Always switch appliances off at the wall and remove the electrical plug before cleaning.
- Never stick a metal object into an electrical appliance such as the toaster, hair dryer or kettle.
- Have safety switches installed.
- Keep appliances away from pools.
- Do not fly kites near power lines. Do not attempt to retrieve kites or other toys that get tangled up in power lines.
- Ensure climbing trees and cubby houses are also well away from power lines.
- Store electrical tools and equipment in a lockable cupboard or shed.
How can I save money on my electricity bill?
- Choose the right hot water system for your home. Consider power source, system type, size and budget. Avoid hot water systems that use electricity during peak time as peak tariffs are 3.5 times more expensive than off-peak electricity or natural gas.
- Buy energy efficient appliances. The more stars an appliance has the more power and money you can save.
- Insulate your house well. Effective insulation can keep your home up to 7°C cooler in the summer and 10°C warmer in the winter, which means massive savings on your electricity bill.
- Keep your air conditioner set no lower than 23°C. By increasing the temperature by just one degree you can reduce your power usage by up to 10%.
How can I ensure electrical safety in my home?
There are many easy ways that you can make sure your house is safe from electrical hazards. Here are some simple things to keep in mind:
- Make sure that your electrical cords are in good condition and are away from water. Do not use cords that are frayed or worn until they have been seen to by a licensed electrician.
- Avoid a power overload by using power boards with safety devices rather than ‘piggy-backing’ cables or using double adapters.
- Childproof your outlets.
- Get safety switches installed and test them every three months. To do this, you just need to press the ‘test’ or ‘T’ button. If this shuts off the power, then your safety switch is in good working order.
- Get a licensed electrician to do your wiring for you, no matter how minor the job.