Five things you need to know when dealing with an electrical emergency
1. Beware of fallen power lines: Fallen power lines are extremely dangerous – so keep away and call Ausgrid Emergency Services on 13 13 88. Keep all children and pets away from fallen power lines, wait for emergency crews to arrive before recommencing work.
2. Beware of electrical fires: These can be caused by electrical failures, appliance defects, misuse and/or poor maintenance of appliances, incorrectly installed wiring, or overloaded circuits and extension cords. If an electrical fire occurs, never use water or water-based extinguishers to put it out – this could increase the danger as water conducts electricity. Call 000 (or 112 from mobiles) and, if possible, turn off the electricity at the main switch.
3. Avoid electrical shock: Exposed wiring, water or liquid around appliances, and electrical fires all have the potential to shock those in contact with them. Also remember that people and pets can act as conductors – you can be shocked by touching a person who is in contact with an electrical current. Make sure the power is switched off and the situation resolved (call 000 or 112 from mobiles) before touching a shocked person.
4. Be safe around overhead power lines: Powerful currents flow through overhead power lines, and you don’t even need to touch them to be shocked . Electricity can jump from the power lines to people, ladders, kites, boat masts etc. Work an appropriate distance away from these lines and, if in doubt, call a qualified electrician to set up safety insulation equipment. Also – remember to look up! That’s the easiest way to avoid this hazard.
5. Minimise risk in case of electrical shock: Call 000 (or 112 from mobiles) and ask for help, specifying this is an electrical accident. Remember people can conduct electricity. Once the person has been moved out of contact from the source, then response, breathing and pulse can be checked. Don’t touch burns, blisters, or remove burned clothing. Always seek medical attention after an electrical shock.