Depending on the nature of the electrical emergency there are some important guidelines on what to do and what not to do. They could help save your life or prevent harm so being aware is very important. Let’s take a look at what to do if an emergency electrical situation arises.

Types of Electrical Emergency

The following are the most common types of electrical emergencies:

Electric Shocks

If someone is being shocked, do not touch them. Turn the power off or disconnect the appliance if this is what they are touching. If you can’t, then try to separate the victim from the source with a non-conductive item like a wooden stick or broom handle. Do not use metal items. Then immediately call QLD Ambulance Service on 000 (or 112 from a mobile).

Then administer first aid if the victim is not breathing and start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

If someone has already been shocked, then the severity will be dependent on the length of time and the amount of power they were exposed to. You should always seek medical advice regardless as longer times can cause skin burns and heart damage or interference. Then you should look to disconnect the source of the power if it was an appliance. If it came from a pipe or exposed wires, then you should turn off the main power at the consumer unit (switchboard / fuse box) and immediately call a qualified electrician.

Common Causes of Electric Shocks

The most common cause of an electric shock in the home are:

  • Frayed power cables
  • Damaged or faulty extension leads
  • Badly installed or poorly maintained wiring
  • Faulty electrical appliance
  • Close proximity of water

Electrical Fires

A failed appliance, bad or ageing wiring or a power surge can all cause an electrical fire in your home. Whilst these are uncommon, they aren’t impossible, so it doesn’t hurt to be prepared with the right information and response.

If you think that the cause of a fire is electrical, remember to not throw water on it. This can result in conduction and your risk of someone being shocked as a result.

Use a fire extinguisher if you have one but it must be dry powder or Co2 otherwise it too will be conductive.

Most homes don’t have extinguishers so instead turn off any power outlets if you think it is safe to do so. Then turn off the power from the consumer unit (switchboard / fuse box) and immediately call the emergency services if the fire can’t be contained or put out. If it has, then call a qualified electrician.

Common Causes of Electrical Fires

The most common cause of electrical fires in the home are:

  • Overloaded circuits
  • Cheap or imitation appliance or device chargers
  • Portable heaters
  • Lighting (too high a wattage can risk flame production)

Don’t Panic

Try to remain calm and don’t do anything that might make the situation worse as lives could depend on it.