Emergencies are often life or death situations, and electrical emergencies are no different. And an emergency is no place for uncertainty or doubt about how to proceed. It is also not a time to be stopping and learning how to act in the situation, as every second counts.
Electrical problems have the extra complication of often posing great danger to equipment, and often information as well. This makes it extra important that they are resolved as quickly and safely as possible. So what are the actions to take in an electrical emergency?
Below is a list of the most common electrical emergencies. It is best if you familiarise yourself with this list so that you will be able to spot them as early as possible, giving you the best chance of reducing harm or damage.
The first and most important thing for a first responder to do is to see if trying to help will put them in danger. Getting an electrical shock while trying to help a person will only compound the situation for the next person to come along.
When checking the area, look for the following electrical hazards:
If any of these are present you should stay out of the area and call an electrician (or the power company in the case of a downed power line) unless it is of the utmost importance that you treat something or someone in the area. And if doing so you should proceed with extreme care, even after turning off the electricity at the mains box.
Before you can treat someone or begin recovery of any equipment, you must first reduce the risk of injury to yourself. The best and easiest way to do this is by switching the power off at the mains box.
The most important thing to note is that you shouldn’t have to do this step if your RCD (Residual Current Device) and circuit breakers are working. These will cut the power the moment they detect a danger to personnel or equipment (respectively). You should, however, always check before entering the area that the power is off before entering.
And even if you do not need to enter the area to do something, you should still always make the area as safe as possible, to prevent further damage or injury, especially if there is a risk of someone unaware entering the area.
If someone’s life is in danger you should immediately call the ambulance. While waiting you can apply first aid if you are up to the task. In the case of a victim of an electric shock, you should first check if they are conscious and breathing. If not you will have to apply CPR.
If the victim has suffered electrical burns as well, you can treat these like you would any other burn. Once anyone affected by the situation has been attended to, or if no one has been injured, you should immediately call a licensed emergency electrician.
While you wait for the electrician to arrive you should do your best to cordon off the area and keep people away. This might require evacuating the building if the electric emergency is serious enough.
While resolving the situation is a good start, if it happens again a week later, there is obviously a deeper problem which needs to be addressed. It is always best to learn from these situations and implement measures to prevent them from occurring again.
Here are also some ways you can prevent electrical emergencies from happening in the future or to reduce their seriousness if they do occur.
Not every electrical situation will be alike, and there will definitely be niche scenarios and equipment that can catch you out. It’s always best to consult with experts on matters of electrical safety.
Prime Time Electricians have licensed 24-hour electricians available to resolve electrical emergencies. So if you are concerned about the vulnerability of your premises to an electrical emergency, or want to be safe rather than sorry, give us a call on 1300 356 200 today.