Electrical Emergency Signs
Electricity and the equipment it can operate, generally runs in the background with us forgetting it is even there. We kind of take it for granted. We dont think we could encounter an electrical emergency.
However, electrical emergencies can occur unexpectedly. These electrical emergencies can be a nuisance. However, they can also pose potential risks to our safety and property.
Therefore, understanding what constitutes an electrical emergency is crucial for taking appropriate action. Thus, by having this knowledge you can seek professional help promptly.
In this article, we will explore the common scenarios that are considered an electrical emergency.
Types of Electrical Emergency
The types of electrical emergency we will cover are.
- Electrical Power Outage
- Electrical Sparks
- Burning Smells or Signs of Burning
- Electrical Shocks
- Continuous Tripping of Electrical Circuits
- Visual Damage
Electrical Power Outage
One of the most apparent electrical emergencies is a power outage. In certain circumstances, this emergency completely stops your ability to do anything in an instance.
Short and isolated power outages can occur due to
- Weather conditions
- External maintenance work,
- A single piece of faulty equipment or an appliance
However, prolonged, or widespread power failures can be a cause for concern. Therefore, if you experience a sudden loss of power in your home or business and it’s not a result of a general power outage in your area, it’s advisable to contact your electricity supplier in the first instance.
Failing that, it is advised to call a licensed electrician or electrical installation company to investigate and rectify the issue. At EIS, we find we assist a range of customers over the phone without needing our services.
Electrical sparks or flames are another clear sign of an electrical emergency. Firstly, If you notice sparks coming from an outlet, switch, or electrical appliance. Secondly, if you see flames near any electrical equipment. In Both instances it’s crucial to take immediate action.
In this instance, cut off power to the affected area. This would be done by
- Finding the consumer or fuse board.
- Locating the circuit affected on the bank of circuit breakers.
- They should be labelled. i.e. kitchen sockets, floor sockets etc
- Switching that breaker to off.
- Remove the affected plug or appliance from the power outlet.
- Contact a local electrical company.
- Investigate and make the necessary repairs.
Burning Smells or Signs of Burning
The presence of a burning smell is also indicative of an electrical emergency. Therefore, if you detect a persistent burning odour in your home or business it could be a sign of an electrical issue. Generally, an electrical burning smell will be totally different to other factors such as cooking or heating appliances.
A burning smell can indicate overheating wires or overheating electrical components. Consequently, these can lead to electrical fires. In such cases, it is essential to turn off the power supply as shown above. Once that is done, seek professional electrical assistance to prevent potential hazards.
Another electrical emergency is the occurrence of electrical shocks. Thus, if you experience an electric shock, even a minor one, it should not be taken lightly.
Electrical shocks can indicate faulty wiring or electrical equipment. Therefore, in addition to the shock just received these which can pose additional significant risk of electrocution.
Firstly, if you or someone else receives an electric shock, it is crucial to seek medical attention right away. It is always the most important to look after yourself first. The affected socket or equipment should also be isolated at the fuse board as previously discussed.
Finally, contact an electrician or electrical company to inspect and repair the electrical system This will help to prevent future incidents.
Continuous Tripping of Electrical Circuits
In some instances, a circuit breaker repeatedly tripping can be considered an electrical emergency. Firstly, a circuit breaker is designed to trip when there is an overload or a short circuit. Thus, protecting the electrical system from damage and preventing fires.
However, if your circuit breaker is frequently tripping without any apparent reason, it could indicate an underlying electrical issue. This issue requires immediate attention from a professional electrician.
In fact, this investigation can lead to fault finding on a system not even to do with your electrics.
One example was when a customer of ours had a constantly tripping breaker in their kitchen. The electrical investigation led to the pump. This pump had failed several times. This then involved a plumber investigating, who then found a blocked pipe which had caused the pump to overheat. The final outcome was new pipe, new pump and new electrical cabling. All from a constant tripping circuit.
We have written an article on circuit breakers in more depth which you can read here “What are Circuit Breakers”
Visual Damage on Electrical Wiring
Exposed or damaged wires are an electrical emergency. These exposed wires can lead to
- Electrical shock
- Electrical Fire – “What is an Electrical Fire”
- Damage to equipment
The thing to notice is if electrical wires are frayed, chewed, or exposed from their outer sheath. In these instances, it is critical to address the issue promptly and correctly.
Exposed wires can pose a severe risk of electric shock and potential fires. It is essential to isolate the area by turning off the power supply at the breaker. Once again, contact a licensed electrician to safely repair or replace the damaged wiring.
It goes without saying that covering the damaged area with some tape is not advised.
Electrical Emergency Summary
In conclusion, understanding what constitutes an electrical emergency is vital for ensuring our safety and protecting our property.
As we discussed, power outages, electrical sparks, flames, burning smells, electrical shocks, frequent tripping of circuit breakers, and exposed or damaged wires are all scenarios that require immediate attention. Especially from a professional electrical expert.
Remember, if you encounter any of these situations, it is important to prioritize your safety. This is done by following proper procedures such as cutting off power first. Then you can and seek help from qualified electricians or electrical companies.
Always taking swift action in electrical emergencies helps prevent accidents, injuries, and property damage.
An additional way to avoid electrical emergencies is regular teting and electrical safety certificates. Electrical Saferty Certificates Explained