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What are the proper ways to handle an electrical emergency?

16 Dec 2022

Knowing how to respond to electrical emergencies will help ensure your safety and prevent further damage to your property. Here are the best ways to handle these common electrical emergencies.

Electrical shock
If a person comes into contact with exposed live wires or a faulty appliance, they could experience an electrical shock. If this happens, switch off the power immediately. If you’re not close to the source to turn it off, use an insulated object to separate the electrocuted person from the electrical source. Never touch the person as you might receive an electric shock as well. Instead, call your local emergency hotline for help. The operator can provide instructions for you on how to conduct first aid procedures until the emergency services arrive.  Don’t forget to unplug the appliance that caused the electrical shock. 

Burnt outlet
A burnt outlet could be caused by outdated wiring or an overloading of circuits. If the outlet smells like burning plastic or it gives off sparks, unplug the device immediately and avoid contact with the burnt outlet. Switch off the power at the circuit breaker then call a certified electrician so they can assess the problem and make repairs, if needed. If you have a burn injury from coming into contact with the damaged outlet, run cool water over the burnt area for at least 20 minutes. Cover the injury with a sterile gauze bandage or a clean cloth. Don’t use blankets or towels because the loose fibres can get stuck on the burnt area. If the burn injury is severe, get medical attention immediately. 

Buzzing sounds from the circuit breaker
A buzzing sound emanating from the breaker box could indicate loose wiring or the circuit breaker needs a replacement. Whilst it may appear to be a minor problem, leaving this unattended could result in an electrical fire. This should be looked at by a professional electrician.

Circuit breaker failure and short circuits
Circuit breakers are supposed to shut off if an overload or power surge occurs. But if the breaker malfunctions, it could cause a short circuit that could trigger a fire. If there’s a short circuit, immediately unplug your devices and appliances. Next, switch off the fuse box or circuit breaker. Check for any exposed wires and cover them with an electrical tape. If you see loose connections, use a screwdriver to tighten it. Call an electrician if you’d rather have these issues repaired by professionals. They can also check for other problems that caused the short circuit.

Electrical fire
Exposed or faulty wiring, overloading, or flammable materials near an overheated electrical device can trigger dangerous electrical fires. To deal with this, cut the power supply first from your circuit breaker. Use a fire extinguisher to put out the fire completely. If the fire is uncontrollable, evacuate the site immediately and call your local fire and rescue centre. Do the “stop, drop, and roll” technique if your clothes are on fire. Don’t breathe in the smoke and keep yourself close to the ground where the air is cooler. 

Power failures
Power outages or blackouts may be caused by storms, damaged power lines, and energy shortage, among others. When this happens, turn off all electrical appliances before you turn off the main circuit breaker. If the power outage was caused by a tripped circuit breaker, there could be too many devices plugged into one outlet or extension. To prevent tripping, plug the appliances in different outlets when the power resumes.

If a circuit overload is not the cause of the blackout, check for faulty wiring due to wear and tear. If the power failure was caused by voltage fluctuations or damage in the breaker itself, call an electrician so they can reset it. It could also be an issue with the distributor of your electricity. Contact them as well to check if they’re working on restoring the power.

When the power comes back, switch on the breaker first then wait for a few minutes before you turn on your appliances again to prevent damage from sudden energy fluctuations.

Downed power lines
If you come across dangling or fallen power lines, keep a clear distance of at least 40 feet away. Even if there are no sparks or sounds, it could still be a live wire that can cause electrical shock. If there are nearby conductive materials (water puddles or any metallic object), put warning hazards to ensure the safety of the surrounding inhabitants. Never touch anything that has come into contact with the fallen power line. Contact your local electricity distributor to repair the downed lines as well as the local authorities to secure the situation.

Circuit failure when using electrical appliances 
If your circuit breaker is tripping when you use an appliance, it could either be an electrical system problem or a malfunction in the electrical appliance. Consult with an electrician to check the circuit breaker if it’s able to accommodate the electrical load of your devices or appliances. They can also inspect and repair any damage to the wiring system. If that’s not the source of the problem, it could be the appliance itself. Raise the issue with the manufacturing company if they can replace or repair it, as long as it’s still covered by the warranty.  

Constantly tripping circuit breakers
There could be a problem with your electrical system if your circuit breaker is tripping frequently. Check if there’s any damage in the wiring. There might be sparks or exposed and frayed wires. Call an electrician so they can repair it properly,

You can try to troubleshoot this if you can identify the breaker that’s always tripping then reset it yourself. But if that doesn’t work, then let an electrician examine and repair it.

As preventive measures, use surge protectors to cover the electrical outlets. To keep track of the current flow, you can also install safety switches. Consult with an electrician if you need other recommendations to ensure your protection against electrical hazards.

For any electrical emergencies, Brady Electrical Contracting is here to help you.

If you need professional services for any electrical emergencies, you can count on Brady Electrical Contracting to assist you. The Brady fleet, machinery and equipment can be dispatched immediately. Our team of expert electricians are on hand 24/7 to handle emergency electrical breakdowns in your area. 

No job is too big or too small for us. We’re always ready to give you friendly advice and high-quality service for your electricity needs. Contact us here or call us on 1300 613 205 if you would like to consult with us about your electricity-related concerns.