CIDEC would like to reminded the community to make electrical safety a priority around the home as the winter weather strikes. CIDEC’s Director, Peter Stacey, said the combination of shorter days and cooler weather traditionally leads to a higher risk of fire and electric shock caused by increases in electricity consumption and the use of seasonal products such as heaters and electric blankets. “When winter arrives the electrical industry sees a rise in the use of electricity because we need the lights on earlier, we use bathroom heating lamps for longer, electric blankets are pulled out of the cupboard and portable heaters are plugged in, “Electrical faults are a major cause of house fires and can lead to serious injury.
A recent regulatory impact statement by the Electrical Regulatory Authorities Council found electrical faults led to 67 fatalities in a four year period and over 11,000 house fires from 2002 to 2007 in Australia and New Zealand. “It is important to play it safe as winter approaches and today I’m pleased CIDEC can help remind the community to ensure electrical safety is considered around the home.” Common problems with electrical products which have been stored for long periods include damaged or exposed wiring, build up of dust and general damage from having other heavy items placed on top of them. The extra use of recessed lighting and bathroom heaters can cause globes or lamps to become hotter than usual which can lead to fires.
To assist consumers with electrical safety this winter, CIDEC provides the following general advice:
- Ensure your property has a working residual current device (RCD) also known as a safety switch.
- Complete a visual inspection of electric blankets and portable heaters before they are used for the first time.
- Never use products where wiring is damaged or exposed.
- Remove excess dust before plugging into a power outlet.
- Ensure all electrical products including extension cords comply with Australian Standards.
- Ensure power outlets (power points) are in good working order before connecting other products. Do not leave bathroom heaters on for long periods unnecessarily.
- Do not dry clothes on heaters or place heaters near curtains.
These simple steps will assist in keeping your home and family safe this winter. For additional protection and peace of mind, CIDEC recommends home owners’ arrange for a licensed electrician to conduct an electrical inspection. “An electrical inspection by a licensed electrician will help identify problems with appliances, internal wiring, poorly installed insulation and ensure there is a working safety switch,”Many homes built in the early 1900s and during the post-war booms still have original wiring so an electrical inspection can help identify any serious problems.”