• Friday, May 24, 2024
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BusinessDay

With electric emergency

With electric emergency

Infrastructure Maintenance with Tunde Obileye

Electricity is an absolute need in the modern world, but with it comes numerous risks and potential hazards. Though we are better protected from electrical emergencies when we regularly maintain our electrical systems and appliances, emergencies can happen.

Everything from an electric fire, electric shock or power outage may put lives at risk. So, it’s important to have a plan in place and understand what to do. A range of problems can cause electric emergencies such as a faulty appliance, frayed cord or shoddy electrical DIY work.

Emergency response for an electric fire:

•Cut the Power: The first thing to do in any electric fire is to cut the source of power to the electrical system causing the problem. This can be done by flipping the switch on the breaker box. This step is also important because it reduces the risk for electric shock for anyone handling the fire.

•Use a fire extinguisher: Having fire extinguishers is necessary. Everyone should know how to use a fire extinguisher. There is a Class C fire extinguisher which contains carbon dioxide and Class A which is water-based. If not sure of the class of the fire extinguisher, have it checked. These extinguishers are not interchangeable and should only be used in the prescribed situation.

Smother the fire: If a fire extinguisher is unavailable, knowing how to put out an electric fire without one is recommended. If the power to the area is off, use either a fire blanket or water to extinguish the fire. However, if unsure whether the power is off, do not use water or approach the fire otherwise there is a risk of electric shock.

•Practice fire safety: If the fire cannot be controlled, exit the building quickly before calling the fire and rescue service. Remember to keep close to the ground to avoid smoke inhalation. Drop and roll if your clothing catches fire.

Emergency response for an electrical shock:

•Do not touch: If someone comes in contact with electricity, do not, under any circumstance, touch the person directly. Doing so will lead to being shocked or electrocuted.

•Keep your distance: If the cause of electrocution is a high voltage wire, stay at about 20 feet from the wire. If the wire is sparking, stand even further away if possible.

•Turn off power: Turn off power to the building through the circuit breaker as soon as possible.

•Remove the person: If getting to the breaker will be a struggle, try cutting contact between the victim and electrical source using an insulated object such as a wooden rod or PVC pipe. Never use a wet or damp object. Once the victim is removed from immediate danger, do not attempt to move further.

•Call for Help: Once the power is turned off or the victim is removed from source of the shock, immediately call for professional help. Having first aid or CPR training will be useful to administer to the victim. Do this even if the victim appears fine because electric shock can have strange effects on a victim’s health that may not be immediately visible or noticeable.

Emergency response for a power outage:

•Check the source: Sometimes, the cause of a blackout is simply a short-circuit or tripped breaker. Check and reset your circuit breakers to ensure this is not the cause of the blackout.

•Be prepared: Keep a power outage emergency kit in an easily accessible location, equipped with alternative lighting options, like candles, alternative cooking and heating options, a battery-powered radio and fresh water supplies. You may also want to keep a battery-powered mobile phone charging station so you can keep lines of communication open.

•Turn off power to appliances: As soon as a power outage occurs, turn off power to all heating and cooling appliances, such as cooking appliances, irons, heaters and air conditioners, via the circuit breaker. Turn off the branch circuits first, then the main breaker. Alternatively, ensure all of your electronics are plugged into surge protectors to protect them when the power returns.

•Contact your electrician or power provider: Contact as soon as possible to notify them of your outage. They may give an idea of what happened and steps to fix the problem or arrange a visit.

•Reset safely: When power returns to your building, wait a few minutes before turning on the lights and appliances. The power may be low voltage, resulting in damage to the electronics if turned back on too quickly. Make sure to turn the main breaker back on first, then turn on the branch circuits.