Episode 7 electrical safety Craig Phillips home advice

Video transcript

Craig Philips Home Advice Episode 7 -  Electrical Safety

These days we're surrounded by gadgets that do almost anything. But with gadgets comes charges, and with charges comes the chance of electric shocks, and the chance of electric fires.

Every year, more than a £100M of damage is done to UK properties. 3000 people are injured, and 50 people are killed. So what do you do if you find an electrical fire in your home?

Well firstly, never use water on an electric fire. If it's safe to do so, the first thing you should do is turn the main power supply off from the fuse board. However, only do this if you're safely away from the fire, and you're in no danger of inhaling any toxic fumes. Of course, always make sure you know where the unit is, even if you're in the dark.

If you can't get to it, raise the alarm, get everybody out, stay out, and call 999. If you hear buzzing or crackling when using a plug, or even a spark from the socket, do not touch it, go straight to the fuse board, and turn the electrics off. Call out a professional to investigate what the fault is. Damaged or old wiring is often the cause of house fires. You should get your electrics checked by a qualified electrician at least every ten years.

Before you start any work, make sure the electrician you're using is fully qualified. Don't be embarrassed to ask for a completion safety certificate, to prove that all of the work he's done complies to the UK Safety Standards - it's perfectly okay to ask.

However, appliances, as opposed to electrical installation, is the cause of most house fires. This could be avoidable, if a few precautions were taken, and some common sense. Check the plugs on your appliances. It's quite easy to see the difference between a good plug and a bad plug. What you're looking for is that there's no discolouring in it, it's loose with cracks in it, the wires are coming out and you can see the coloured wiring in between, and also check the full length of it for any nicks or cuts in there.

Never overload your sockets. If you do need to use an extension, or an adapter, never have more than one high-current item in there at once. High-current appliances like kettles, irons and heaters, all plugged into one socket, can lead to overheating, also never plug one adapter into another.

Now if you're using a reeled extension lead, make sure it's fully wound out before you start to use it, because the cable's got a tendency of overheating inside, and can cause a fire. Whilst it might be tempting to tuck the cables out of sight, out of mind, never put them under carpets or rugs, where they could get damaged or overheat.

Two things that don't mix - water and electricity. Water's conductive, and can greatly increase the risk of electric shock, so make sure your hands are bone dry before you use any appliances. Never dry damp clothes on or near electrical space heaters, and never take mains-powered items into the bathroom.

By following these guidelines, keeping a close eye on your sockets and plugs, you can keep yourself safe, no matter how much power you use.

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