Electricity is part of our everyday life - designed to provide us with a safe and reliable source of energy. Most of the time, electricity is our friend, but sometimes it can be dangerous. This happens when we're exposed to it in ways we were not meant to be. Staying safe around electricity is everyone's responsibility. You should watch out for yourself, your friends and your family.
We all like to play outside, but there are electrical hazards that we need to know about. Electricity poles and wires are above us, next to us, and even below us. Whenever you can, play in open spaces away from electricity poles, towers and powerlines.
- If you fly a kite and it gets caught in the overhead powerlines, live electricity could travel down the string and seriously hurt you. So be careful!
- Never climb a tree that is near powerlines. Look up before you climb!
- After a storm if you see some fallen powerlines, stay well clear of them. There is a strong chance they are still "alive".
We all come into contact with metal objects on a daily basis - turning on a tap, playing with our computers and toys and even using the fridge. Because metal conducts electricity, you have to be very careful when you use metal items.
- Never put a metal object, like a knife into a toaster. It is very dangerous!
- Never put anything in a power point that's not meant for it. Electricity will travel right up the metal object into your body
- Be careful when climbing a ladder at home. The power lines connected to our house are usually protected, but they can be damaged by rubbing against the gutter or a tree, or through exposure to the sun. If a person is on a metal ladder and touches the exposed line, the electricity will travel through their body to the earth.
Water and electricity do not mix so keep water away from electrical appliances. Water can conduct electricity because electrons can flow by hitching a ride on atoms and molecules in the water. Water also contains dissolved substances, such as salt, which greatly increase the ability of water to conduct electricity. That's why electricity passes easily through our bodies - because our bodies contain water and salt.
- Never use any electrical appliance near water
- Never touch anything electrical with wet hands or bare feet
- Never leave an electrical appliance where it can fall into a bath, sink or swimming pool
- Switch off and unplug all portable electric appliances, such as hairdryers, hair straighteners, shavers, etc after use
If an electrical appliance has fallen in water it must be disposed of immediately
- Do not use extension leads or power leads in wet areas - unless they are specifically designed for that purpose
You will find electricity substations and power equipment all over the place. They are behind fences, in buildings, or on the side of the footpath, and most have danger signs. Substations transform the voltage generated at power stations so it can be distributed to homes, schools and businesses. Substations are safe, but you must follow the rules.
- Obey warning signs – Danger, Keep Out and High Voltage all mean stay away.
- Call us on 13 13 88 if you lose something over the fence of a substation. We’ll get it for you.
- Steer clear of green boxes on local streets – they are small substations and contain live electrical equipment.
Always be on the look out for electrical dangers in and around your home. Many of these situations could be life threatening and require an electrician to fix them.
- Faulty appliances and damaged electrical leads should be disconnected at the power point and fixed or replaced by an electrician.
- Never stack power points. Use a power board or have an extra power point installed. Stacked power points can cause fires.
- Before you or your family do any major digging in the yard you should get Mum or Dad to ring Dial Before you Dig on 1100 to make sure there are no underground cables near your property. If you hit one you could be electrocuted, as well as possibly interrupting the power to your suburb.
We all hope that we are never in an emergency involving electricity, but if we are, it's important to know what to do.
- Ensure your own safety
- Turn the power off at the power point and remove the plug (if you are able to do so)
- Get an adult
- Ring 000