Have you ever wondered how heavy machinery and manufacturing equipment are kept safe during repairs, maintenance, or emergency stoppages? Well, the answer lies in a small yet crucial component called a safety switch. Also known as disconnect switches or load brake switches. These switches are mandatory in all factories and industries to ensure safety.
Moreover, safety switches are not just for industrial settings but also your home and workplace. They are designed to detect current leakage and prevent electric shocks and burns.
However, keep in mind that a safety switch only offers protection to the specific circuit it is connected to and not the entire electrical system. So, it’s important to have multiple safety switches installed on your property to ensure maximum safety.
However, despite a safety switch installed, you can still find yourself in an electrical emergency. Therefore, you should be well-versed to tackle such situations. There are a few things that you should be aware of regarding electrical emergencies. Keep reading to learn more about them.
What To Do in Case Of an Electrical Fire?
Electrical fires can be caused by a variety of factors, ranging from a short circuit to a frayed cord placed near curtains. Regardless of their origins, such fires pose a significant threat to the safety and well-being of individuals.
As such, it is imperative to establish emergency response procedures for electrical fires in homes to ensure the health and safety of the entire family. Also, make sure to get a safety switch installed to minimize the risk of such situations.
Emergency response techniques for an electrical fire typically include:
- Cut the Power: The first and foremost thing to do in case of any electrical emergency is to cut the power to the electrical system. It can be done by flipping the switch on the home’s breaker box. This step effectively reduces the risk of electric shock and allows individuals to use more resources while trying to control the flame.
- Use a Fire Extinguisher: If you have one in your home, your family members should be aware of how to stop an electrical fire with the help of a fire extinguisher. In case you cannot cut the power to the main source of the fire, then you should prefer using a Class C-rated fire extinguisher. They generally use dry chemicals or carbon dioxide.
- Smother the Fire: If a fire extinguisher is not in your immediate access, then you should be familiar with how to control an electrical fire without a fire extinguisher. If the power to the entire area is disconnected, you can make use of a fire blanket or water to smother the fire. However, if you are not sure whether the power is off, steer clear of using water and refrain from approaching the fire, or else you can put yourself at an extreme risk of electric shock.
- Practice Fire Safety: If you fail to control the fire by yourself, rush towards the exit in the first instance before reaching out to authorities. Also, make sure to avoid smoke inhalation by keeping close to the ground.
What to do in case of Power Outage?
Power outages are generally the most widely recurring electrical emergency. They can occur due to a myriad of reasons. Whether it’s due to a downed power line, damaged safety switch, storm, energy shortage, or a problem in your home’s power lines.
No matter what the cause is, they can be a headache and can be dangerous for your home appliances. A safety switch can potentially save you from such events. However, if you still get stuck in such a situation.
Take the following steps to protect yourself and the people around you:
- During a blackout, check for a short-circuit or tripped breaker.
- Keep a power outage emergency kit with lighting options, cooking and heating alternatives, a radio, and water supplies.
- Turn off power to appliances and unplug electronics or use surge protectors. Contact your distributor to report the outage and receive updates.
- Wait a few minutes before turning on lights and appliances when power returns, then turn on the branch circuits.
What to do in case of Electric Shock?
Electric shock is another most common electrical emergency. If an electrical shock passes through an individual’s body, it can cause severe damage.
Therefore, you should be fully aware of what to do in such situations:
- Do Not Touch: If someone has come in direct contact with electricity, never touch them directly. This is because, by doing so, you can also get a shock. So, maintain a safe distance.
- Turn off Power: The first thing to do in a situation of electric shock is to turn off the breaker. Try to do this as fast as you can.
- Remove the Person: If the breaker is too far away, try to remove the person and end the contact between him and the electrical. However, make sure to use an insulated object, such as a PVC pipe, wooden rod, or other material that would work well in this case. Abstain from using a damp or wet or damp object.
Once you have successfully cut the contact between the person and the electrical source and turned off the power, call 911 for help. You can also administer CPR to the victim if you are well-trained.
It is necessary to give first aid and CPR to the victims even if they seem fine. This is because electric shocks can exert strange effects on a person’s health that may not be instantly noticeable or visible.
Factors To Consider While Operating a Safety Switch
- The most significant thing to consider while operating a safety switch is to turn off the main supply. Otherwise, the switch can burn, or it may result in severe electrical emergencies.
- Never use safety switches in an atmosphere filled with explosive or combustible gasses, as it is extremely dangerous. Such an atmosphere can heat the switch and can ultimately lead to fires or explosions.
- Make sure never to disassemble or drop safety switches. This is because it can cause a change in their characteristics that can cause electrical shock, damage, or even burning.
- It is important to select appropriate switch ratings based on the confirmed contact load when operating a safety switch. Excessive contact load can cause the contacts to get welded or shifted, which may lead to short circuits or burnouts after the power supply is turned on.
- The durability of a switch is a crucial factor to consider. Before using a switch, it is always advisable to test it under actual conditions. Continuously using a switch that has deteriorated can lead to insulation failures, switch damage, or even switch burnouts. To avoid such electrical hazards, it is vital to use a functioning switch at all times.
Electrical emergencies can happen anytime and anywhere. The danger is even greater when you’re at home. But don’t worry. Quick and decisive action can make all the difference. To keep you and your loved ones safe, make sure you have a safety switch installed. It can help you avoid electric shocks and other faults that can arise during emergencies.
But what if an emergency does occur? That’s where having a clear and well-defined emergency response plan comes in. By taking the right steps, you can minimize potential damage and keep everyone safe. Remember, it’s important to ensure that everyone in your home is familiar with the emergency response plan and knows what to do in case of electrical emergencies.
In conclusion, electrical emergencies are serious, but with the right preventive measures and emergency response procedures, you can minimize the risks and ensure the safety of your family.