Electricity travels in a circuit and when you switch on an appliance, the circuit is completed. Electricity flows along power lines to the power point, through the power cord into the appliance, then back through the cord to the power point and out to the power lines again.
Electricity is safe if contained in the circuit but will cause serious injury or even death if the circuit breaks and you become part of the current.
Here are some tips about keeping safe in the home or at work:
- When around electrical equipment treat all wiring and sockets as live at all times, for your own safety.
- Check appliances, extension cords and power plugs regularly for damage.
- Avoid having too many appliances plugged into one power point or multi board. Too many plugs in a power point can cause a fire.
- Always have your electric blankets checked annually before using them.
- Keep all furniture, clothes and curtains at least one metre away from heaters and fire places.
- Put childproof safety caps over power points.
- When using power tools, always use a Residual Current Device (RCD), or an isolating transformer. Connect the RCD as close as possible to the power point.
- Never use water to extinguish an electrical fire. Electricity can be conducted through the water to the person attempting to extinguish the fire which may result in serious shock. Use a multipurpose fire extinguisher designed for electrical fires, wood/paper fires, and flammable liquids and call 111.
- In the event of an electrical shock, don’t touch the victim until you are certain the source of electricity is turned off. Unplug the appliance or turn off power at the main switch and call 111.
More information on electrical safety
For more information on using electricity safely, visit the Energy Safety Service’s website at www.ess.govt.nz