If you are experiencing an electrical emergency you may find the following advice useful.
Even small voltages can kill you under the right circumstances. Never take risks when dealing with electrical emergencies as you may find yourself on the receiving end of something that can cause terrible injuries or death.
Someone Has Received An Electric Shock
- Isolate the casualty from the electrical supply as quickly as possible. This can be done by turning off the accessory or equipment that caused the shock, but if there is any risk to your safety use alternative means such as turning off the power at your consumer unit (either using the main isolator or the fuse/circuit breaker for the circuit involved) or by moving them with a non-conductive material such as a length of dry wood. If you have a cordless phone, remember it will need power if you want to use it to phone the emergency services
- Only when you are absolutely certain the casualty is not in contact with dangerous electric currents should you touch the casualty. If they are and you come into contact with them, it could result in your own injury or death. If they have fallen from height you should minimise the amount of movement to minimise the risks from an undiagnosed spinal injury
- Dial 999 immediately and ask for the Ambulance Service, follow the instructions provided by the emergency operator
- If the casualty has stopped breathing or their heart has stopped, unlock your front door (to allow the emergency services access to your property) and then begin administering CPR immediately and continue until help arrives. For information about administering CPR, please visit the NHS web site here
I Can See Smoke/Fire or Smell Burning
- Never throw water or any other liquid on an electrical fire. The liquid could be conductive and you may receive an electric shock that can cause terrible injuries or death
- Isolate the installation by turning off the main isolator
- Dial 999 immediately and ask for the Fire Service, follow the instructions provided by the emergency operator
- Vacate the premises immediately, do NOT stop to collect your personal possessions. Smoke can kill in seconds!
- Familiarise yourself with your electrical installation. Learn how to turn off the power in the event of an emergency
- If you have cordless phones in your house, keep a corded phone handy in case you need to make a phone call when the power is off
- Keep a torch handy in case of a power cut during the hours of darkness. Don’t forget to check the batteries periodically and replace them if they are flat or past their expiry date
- If a protective device has tripped and it looks damaged on the outside, NEVER try to turn it back on as it could explode causing serious injury or death
- Always use a residual current device (RCD) when using electrical equipment outside. Most modern consumer units include RCDs as standard, if yours doesn’t you can buy a plug in RCD for less than £20
- All RCDs should be tested periodically to ensure they are still functioning properly. If you press the test button and it doesn’t trip, you should have it replaced immediately