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Addressing common electrical fire safety concerns

September 20th 2023


What causes electrical fires in homes?

Electrical fires can be caused by faulty sockets, light fixtures, extension leads, portable heaters, outdated wiring, old or faulty appliances, and circuit overloads. It is important to carefully inspect all electric items for signs of damage.

How often should I have my electrical system inspected?

Electrical systems should generally be inspected every 5-10 years by a professional engineer. 

Can I fix faulty wiring myself?

Always enlist the help of a licensed electrician. Fixing faulty wiring by yourself could lead to serious injury, as well as voiding your insurance policies. 

What should I do if I experience an electrical shock?

If you or someone you know has experienced an electric shock, it is important to seek medical help immediately. Let go, move away from the electricity source and call an ambulance if you’re able to do so. Follow the medical advice given.

Are older homes more prone to electrical fires?

Older homes are more prone to electrical fires due to potentially having out-of-date electrical systems. Over time, wire casings deteriorate leaving wires able to touch. This can cause sparks, which lead to fires.

How can I protect my home from electrical surges?

There are a few ways to protect your home from electrical surges. The first would be to purchase whole-home surge protection. Plugging electric devices into sure protectors is another solution. This blocks or diverts any excess voltage away from your device.
Always unplug sensitive electronics and important appliances during a storm to reduce risk of electricity surges and causing significant damage to the devices.
Have your home wiring checked regularly and use home outlets strategically. Be careful to not overload outlets or extension cords.

What are the warning signs of outdated wiring?

Outdated wiring often presents in the form of trips breaking, fuses blowing, or shocks when touching outlets or switches. Discoloured or stained outlets, burning smells, and dim, flickering lights are also signs of outdated wiring. Homes more than 30 years old should be regularly checked and have their wirings replaced, as they may have started to deteriorate and not be able to keep up with modern electronic usage. 

Do I need a permission for electrical system upgrades?

Yes, you do. It is always good to check with your council first. It is your responsibility to ensure electrical installations in your home comply with building regulations.

Dealing with electrical emergencies
When dealing with an electrical emergency there are a few things you need to consider. Make sure you have an emergency electrician on hand. If you are concerned about the electrical safety in your house, turn off the power and call a professional. 
Always know your nearest fire exit and have a plan in place with all household occupants. In the case of a fire, call the fire service and do as instructed. 
If you have obtained a burn or an electric shock, call the doctor and seek medical assistance. If you come across someone who has been electrocuted and is unconscious, make sure to approach carefully. Don’t touch the person if the source of electricity is still in contact with their body. Turn off the power and use a non-conductive object to move the electric source away. Call an ambulance and administer first aid. 

What should you do in the event of an electrical fire?

Leave it to the professionals. If a fire occurs, evacuate if safe to do so and call 999.