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Safe Electrical Installations

An Electrical Safety Checklist

Electricity can be very dangerous. It is essential that electrical circuits are well designed and correctly installed in the buildings that we live, work and play in.

We need to be protected from electric cables particularly where they are joined or connected to equipment and fittings.

We also need to be protected from poorly made electrical equipment and appliances.

dangerous electrical wiring

Electricity is dangerous

Electricity is a wonderful thing, it makes a huge contribution to our everyday life powering everything from refigerators to television sets and water pumps but it can be nasty stuff. It can give us a shock that short circuits the instructions our brains give to our bodies, it can stop our heart or prevent us from breathing.

With large amounts of electricity at high voltages flowing through wires throughout our buildings, to plug sockets we connect equipment to and then through the equipment we use on a daily basis it is very easy to make a mistake and get a shock which can all too often be fatal.

Electricity is, of course, invisible and silent. We can look at a cable that is "live" and we cannot tell that it is dangerous. We must always be on a guard and must always check first. We must make sure that the power is turned off if we are going to carry out any work that might interfere with an electrical circuit.

If we remember a secen in a James Bond movie where 007 pushes a man into a bath and throws in an electric fire, we are reminded that electricity and water are a dangerous combination and we must be particularly careful when using electrical appliances anywhere near water such as in a bathroom.

Make no mistake poor electrical installations can kill you.

Electricity will flow to earth if it possibly can and anything it passes through can become very hot, so much so anything close bycan set on fire.

Thatched roofs can be particularly susceptable to setting on fire and should be protected from electrical wiring.

So how do we protect ourselves from electricity?

The most important thing is to only employ properly trained electricians to carry out work on our electrical installations.

By making sure that plenty of insulation has been used strategically placed to cover any bare metal that is carrying electricity.

Poorly trained electricians will join wires by twisting the cable together and covering it with tape. This is not good and joined wires should use a connection device that covers bare parts of the wires and junction boxes.

Circuit breakers are also an excellent idea, if there is a fault and electricity flows freely the circuit is broken by the circuit breaker, the power goes off and we are safe.

Modern circuit breakers with earth leakage detectors are very effective. They are very reliable but, better than that, no longer do you have to run around in the middle of the night trying to find the fuse wire and screwdriver and start messing around in the dark in that little cramped space in the pouring rain to get the power back on. Reach in, click, and we are back in business.

Steps to take to protect ourselves

Steps to Take to Avoid electrical fires and electric shocks. If you would like to live a long healthy life and not have your house burn down in the night:

  1. Make sure you get an electrician to do electrical work in your house. Make sure he is a good electrician who knows what he is doing.
  2. Make sure that all joints use terminal blocks to hold wires together properly and cover the bare wires.
  3. Make sure cable connections are all protected in junction boxes.
  4. Makesure that wire is in good condition and properly secured out of the way.
  5. Make sure your house has circuit breakers and that they work properly.
  6. Keep wiring away from Alang Alang (thatched) roofs
  7. Don’t dry your hair in the bath and the
  8. Don’t poke knives, or anything metal, into a toaster to release toast that is stuck.
  9. Make sure your electrical circuits are in good condition, properly earthed and not overloaded. Pull out plugs and switch everything off before you go out. If you buy thongs (flip flops to you English people) make sure you buy Indonesian standard approved. The poorer your wiring the thicker your thongs should be.
  10. Check your electrical appliances for being properly earthed. If your computer casing gives you tingling sensations it is not properly earthed.
  11. Check your multiple adaptors, you know those useful (but dangerous) things that allow you to plug 853 plugs into one plug socket, very often the earths are not connected.

Copyright © Phil Wilson April 2007
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