What to Do in an Electrical Emergency | Lippolis Electric (2022)

April 28, 2017

What to Do in an Electrical Emergency | Lippolis Electric (1)

Electrical appliances are staples of modern convenience. Where would we be without electric ovens to prepare our food, washers and dryers to handle our clothes and lights to illuminate our way in the dark? Electricity is an absolute must in the modern world, but with it comes numerous risks and potential hazards. Anything from a frayed cord to an overloaded circuit can cause a short or a spark, resulting in an electrical emergency.

Though you’re better protected from electrical emergencies when you regularly maintain your home’s electrical systems and appliances, electrical emergencies can happen. Everything from an electrical fire to electric shock may put you or your family at risk, so it’s important to have a plan in place and understand what to do in the event of an electrical emergency. To that end, we’ve provided some basic electrical emergency procedures to help you and your family understand and create an electrical emergency response plan in the event of an electrical fire, shock or fallen power line.

Table of Contents

  • What To Do In Case Of An Electrical Fire
  • Electrical Shock Emergency Management
  • Power Outage
  • Fallen Power Lines

What To Do In Case Of An Electrical Fire

Sometimes a short in a circuit causes it, other times it’s a frayed cord placed near some curtains. No matter how they end up happening, electrical fires can be dangerous to deal with. Establishing emergency response procedures for electrical fires in your home is essential to maintaining the health and safety of your entire family.

Emergency response procedures for an electrical fire include:

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  • Cut the Power: The first thing you should do in any electrical fire is cut the power to the electrical system causing the problem. You can do this by flipping the switch on your home’s breaker box. Simply unplugging the appliance or flipping the switch still poses a risk, especially if the cause is a frayed wire or overheated appliance. If the fire has not yet fully started, this should be enough to stop the fire before it starts. This step is also important because it reduces the risk for electric shock for anyone handling the fire and allows you to use more resources while trying to stop the flame.
  • Use a Fire Extinguisher: If you have one in your home, everyone should know how to put out an electrical fire with a fire extinguisher. If you were unable to cut the power to the source of the fire, you should only use a Class C-rated fire extinguisher. These use carbon dioxide or dry chemical extinguishers. If the power was cut, you should use a Class A extinguisher, which is water-based. Pull the pin depressing the handle and point the horn at the base of the fire before holding down the handle. Continue dispersing the chemical until the fire is fully extinguished. If you are not sure of your fire-extinguisher’s class, have it checked — Class A and Class C extinguishers are not interchangeable and should only be used in the described circumstances.
  • Smother the Fire: If you do not have a fire extinguisher on hand, you should know how to put out an electrical fire without a fire extinguisher. If the power to the area is off, you can use either a fire blanket or water to extinguish the fire. However, if you cannot turn off the power or if you are not sure whether the power is off, do not use water and do not approach the fire, or else you risk electric shock.
  • Practice Fire Safety: If you cannot control the fire, exit the building as quickly and calmly as possible before calling authorities. Remember to keep close to the ground to avoid smoke inhalation and stop, drop and roll if your clothing catches on fire.
  • Call 911 and Exit: Always call 911 in the event of a fire, even if the fire is out. Smoldering objects are still able to reignite, especially if you were unable to cut power to the source of the fire.

One thing many homeowners are unaware of is that up to 90% of breaker panels are labeled incorrectly.Test your panels to make sure they are labeled correctly, and that you are able to shut off power effectively in an emergency.

What to Do in an Electrical Emergency | Lippolis Electric (2)

Though it’s a good idea to know what to do in the event of an electrical fire, taking steps to prevent such fires is even more important. Avoid electrical fires by keeping flammable materials away from outlets, especially outlets currently in use. If you are using a power strip, be sure not to overload the strip or connect a string of strips together. You may also consider using surge protectors to help protect your electronics from overheating due to a power surge.

Electrical Shock Emergency Management

Contact with electricity sometimes happens, especially when electrical outlets and cords go without maintenance or if electrical appliances are placed near water. These cases can be particularly frightening, but it’s crucial to have electric shock emergency procedures in place in your home in the event of an accident. Here are a few things to keep in mind for your emergency response plan for an electrical shock:

  • Do Not Touch: If someone comes in contact with electricity, do not, under any circumstances, touch them directly. If you contact that person while they are still connected to the electrical current, you will also get shocked or electrocuted. Stay calm and stay away.
  • Keep Your Distance: If the cause of electrocution is a high voltage wire, stay at least 20 feet away from the wire. If the wire is jumping and sparking, stand even further away if possible.
  • Turn off Power: As soon as you are aware of the contact with electricity, if you are close to the circuit breaker, turn off power to that part of the house. Do this as quickly as you can.
  • Remove the Person: If it will take too long to get to the breaker, try to cut contact between the person and the electrical source using an insulated object. A wooden rod, PVC pipe or other material would work well in this case. Never, under any circumstances, use a wet or damp object. Use your best judgement to determine whether to remove the person from the shock or get to the breaker — the longer the person is in contact with the shock, the more likely the shock will be fatal. Once the person is removed from immediate danger, do not attempt to move them any further.
  • Call for Help: Once you have turned off the power or have otherwise removed the person from the source of the shock, immediately call 911 for help. If you have first aid or CPR training, administer it to the victim. If you do not have training, the 911 operator can give you directions until a responder arrives. Do this even if the victim says they feel fine — electric shock can have strange effects on a person’s health that may not be immediately visible or noticeable, even to the victim.

What to Do in an Electrical Emergency | Lippolis Electric (3)

Preventing electric shocks is the most important part of your electric shock emergency plan. If you have small children, cover all outlets with protectors and educate them on electrical safety as soon as they are old enough to understand. When doing electrical repairs around the house, consult or hire an electrician for any duties where you are unsure of what to do. Additionally, you may want to consider installing a safety switch in your home. It will monitor the flow of electricity through a circuit and immediately shut off the circuit if it detects a problem, turning off the power within 0.03 seconds. This can help prevent electrocution, as well as electrical fires.

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Power Outage

Probably the most common emergency on this list, power failures and blackouts can occur for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s due to a storm, downed power line, energy shortage or a problem in your home’s power lines, blackouts can be a headache and can be dangerous for your home appliances. In the event of a power failure, take the following steps to protect your home and family:

  • Check the Source: Sometimes, the cause of a blackout in your home is simply a short-circuit or tripped breaker. Check and reset your circuit breakers to ensure this isn’t the cause of your blackout.
  • Be Prepared: Whether your area is prone to power outages or you’re simply expecting a bad storm, being prepared for a power outage brings you extra peace of mind. 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 your lines of communication open.
  • Turn off Power toAppliances: 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, and any electronics, via the circuit breaker. Turn off the branch circuits first, then the main breaker. Alternatively, ensure all of your electronics are plugged in to surge protectors so they are protected when the energy turns back on. You will also want to keep your food freezers and refrigerators closed to keep the food inside preserved as long as possible.
  • Contact Your Distributor: Using your mobile phone, contact your distributor as soon as possible to notify them of your outage. They can give you an idea of what happened, what they are doing to fix the problem and how long the outage will last. This is a particularly important step if you have any special needs due to specialized medical devices and are signed up for an uninterrupted supply of power.
  • Reset Safely: When power returns to your building, wait a few minutes before turning on your lights and appliances. The energy returning to the grid could be inconsistent, resulting in damage to your electronics if you turn them back on too quickly. Make sure to turn the main breaker back on first, then turn on the branch circuits.

What to Do in an Electrical Emergency | Lippolis Electric (4)

If you require an uninterrupted supply of power, or you want to ensure a blackout doesn’t affect you, there are options, especially if you use solar panels or other alternative energy sources in your home. Battery banks, backup generators and other power storage devices can all help you keep the lights on a little longer after the grid goes out. If you have special needs, such as life supporting medical equipment on-premises, you can also talk to your distributor about setting up an uninterrupted supply of power. In both cases, ensuring your electrical hookups are in proper working order is extremely important.

Fallen Power Lines

Downed power lines pose a threat to you outside the house and should be treated with extreme caution. When near a fallen power line, keep the following in mind:

  • Always Be Cautious: We tend to think of live lines as always sparking and letting off lights and sounds, but live power lines don’t always seem active. Even if you think the line is inactive, always treat it as an electricity hazard and stay a minimum of 40 feet away from the line. Be sure to check for any dangling power lines, fallen or dangling limbs, puddles, vehicles, metal fences and other conductive materials that could pose an electricity hazard.
  • Avoid Trees: Trees in contact with power lines pose a serious threat to people, as living wood contains water and can be conductive. Even if you are not sure whether a line is in contact with a tree, avoid touching the tree or coming in contact with any material touching or surrounding the tree.
  • Keep Others Away: When possible, ward people away from the downed power line until help arrives. If you are in a vehicle, turn on your hazard lights and park a good distance away from the area and remain in your vehicle until help arrives. If you are a pedestrian, stand away from the area in a safe spot off the road. If people stop and ask you what is going on, advise them that the line is down and help is on the way, but they should avoid the area and take a different route if possible.
  • Immediately Contact Authorities: When you notice a downed power line, you should immediately notify the local distribution company in charge of the line.

What to Do in an Electrical Emergency | Lippolis Electric (5)

These are steps to take if you avoid coming in contact with the power line. However, if your car comes in contact with the line, follow these safety rules:

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  • Stay Inside Your Car: Do not risk leaving your car. Even if you aren’t sure whether the line is live or not, do not risk coming into contact with the outside of your car. Only get out of your car when authorities tell you it is safe.
  • Warn Others: Roll your window down and tell people to stay away from the area. Anyone in contact with the equipment or ground could be seriously injured.
  • Call for Help: Call 911 as soon as possible. If you don’t have a phone, roll down your windows and sound the horn to call for help and explain the situation to passers-by.
  • In Case of Fire, Exit Safely: If your car or the surrounding area catches fire and poses an immediate threat to your life, exit the vehicle safely. Remove any loose items of clothing, such as baggy jackets or scarves, keep your hands at your sides and off the metal of your car and get away from your vehicle. Keep your feet close together, with both feet touching the ground at the same time, and shuffle away from the vehicle without picking up your feet until you are a good distance away from the vehicle

If the downed power line is on your property, you’ll likely need to hire an electrician to fix the problem. A properly certified emergency electrician is the best choice in this case.

Learn More About What You Should Do If You Spot An Electrical Hazard

If you’re looking for home electric repair services in Westchester NY, look no further than Lippolis Electric, Inc. We’ve been serving as emergency home electricians in Westchester County, NY for over 30 years with quality, knowledgeable service from a team of licensed professionals.

If you have questions about electrical safety or are looking for someone to assess your systems and provide residential electrical repairs in Westchester, NY, contact us today.

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Please note that your appointment is not set until confirmed by Lippolis Electric shortly after you've submitted the form.

(Video) Be A Safety Star - Know what to do in an electrical emergency

FAQs

What are 5 electrical safety tips? ›

Electrical safety tips for kids
  • Never put fingers or other objects in an outlet.
  • Keep metal objects out of toasters.
  • Never use anything with a cord or plug around water.
  • Never pull a plug out by its cord.
  • Stay away from substations and power lines.
  • Don't climb on power poles.
  • Never fly kites near power lines.

What are 4 electrical safety tips? ›

10 Tips for Electrical Safety at Home
  • Always follow appliance instructions for improved electrical safety. ...
  • Watch out for overloaded outlets to protect your home. ...
  • Replace or repair damaged electrical cords to keep your home safe. ...
  • Keep your used and unused cords tidy and secure to prevent damage.

What are 10 electrical safety tips? ›

10 Electrical Safety Tips Every Homeowner Should Know
  • Always Cut the Power. ...
  • Have the Appropriate Fire Extinguisher on Hand. ...
  • Use More Than One Outlet. ...
  • Feel Your Outlets. ...
  • Child-Proof Your Outlets. ...
  • Investigate Flickering Lights. ...
  • Install Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupters. ...
  • Don't Use Extension Cords Long-Term.
11 Jul 2019

What is basic electrical safety? ›

Electrical safety basics

Don't work with exposed conductors carrying 50 volts or more. Make sure electrical equipment is properly connected, grounded and in good working order. Extension cords may not be used as permanent wiring and should be removed after temporary use for an activity or event.

What is the most important rule of electrical safety? ›

For added safety, use a lock to prevent anyone from turning the power back on. Conclusion: Thus, the most important rule of electrical safety is to de-energize the electrical circuit before working on it.

What are the 5 main electrical hazards? ›

Five Electrical Hazards Worth Remembering
  • Working on live circuits. There are times when working on or around a live circuit is unavoidable, but most of the time, that isn't the case. ...
  • Skipping lockout/tagout. ...
  • Forgetting PPE. ...
  • Improper grounding. ...
  • Damaged extension cords.

What are 3 basic precautions for electrical safety? ›

Here are 10 electrical safety tips for the workplace to help you avoid electrical hazards:
  • Prevent All Potential Contact With Live Electrical Current. ...
  • De-energize Equipment and Use Lockout/Tagout. ...
  • Ensure Safe Use of Electrical Equipment. ...
  • Install Proper Physical Barriers Around Electrical Hazards.
10 Jun 2020

Do and don'ts for electrical safety? ›

Employees should not:
  • Overload motors, circuits, or outlets.
  • Run cords along the floor.
  • Use temporary wiring.
  • Put anything but a plug into an electrical outlet.
  • Touch anything electric with wet hands.
  • Leave machinery or electrical equipment running unattended after working hours.
  • Let cords get twisted or tangled.
1 Sept 2010

How can I safely work with electricity? ›

Stay at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines and assume they are energized. De-energize and ground lines when working near them. Use non-conductive wood or fiberglass ladders when working near power lines. Worn cords can expose the wires within, or loosen the connections on the plug end.

Why is electrical safety important? ›

Electrically powered equipment can pose a significant hazard to workers, particularly when mishandled or not maintained. Many electrical devices have high voltage or high power requirements, carrying even more risk.

What are electrical emergencies? ›

A lot of people consider an electrical emergency as a simple power outage that prevents everyone living in the house from using their devices. Others consider it something much more severe, like an outlet that emits a burning odor or wires that start a fire.

What are the correct procedures in the following emergencies electrical shock? ›

Turn off the source of electricity, if possible. If not, use a dry, nonconducting object made of cardboard, plastic or wood to move the source away from you and the injured person. Begin CPR if the person shows no signs of circulation, such as breathing, coughing or movement.

What is the first thing you should do if you discover an electrical hazard? ›

What should you do if you discover an electrical hazard? Secure the area and report the situation to management for repair by an electrician or qualified custodian.

Which Colour is live wire? ›

The colour coding of wires is green for earth red for live and black for neutral.

What is the first level in electrical safety? ›

Recognize hazards

The first step of the electrical safety model is recognizing the electrical hazards around you. Only then can you avoid or control the hazards.

What are electrical risks? ›

The main hazards of working with electricity are: electric shock and burns from contact with live parts. injury from exposure to arcing, fire from faulty electrical equipment or installations.

What are the most important safety concerns for electricians? ›

The following hazards are the most frequent causes of electrical injuries: contact with power lines, lack of ground-fault protection, path to ground missing or discontinuous, equipment not used in manner prescribed, and improper use of extension and flexible cords.

What are examples of electrical safety? ›

Do not use outlets or cords that have exposed wiring. Do not use portable cord-and-plug connected power tools if the guards are removed. Do not block access to panels and circuit breakers or fuse boxes. Do not touch a person or electrical apparatus in the event of an electrical incident.

What is electrical hazard examples? ›

Examples of electrical hazard risks include:

Electric shock and burns from live wire contact. Fires from faulty wiring. Overloading circuits. Leaving electrical parts exposed. Electrocution or burns from lack of PPE.

What are the 5 electrical symbols? ›

There are five commonly used symbols in Electrical – Switch, Wire, Contactor, Motor, Transformer. These symbols can be used in any electrical drawings. Switches are used for ON/OFF any control circuit.

What would you do if you encounter Danger High Voltage? ›

5 ways to stay safe in a High Voltage Hazardous Area
  1. Ensure proper personal protective equipment (PPE). ...
  2. Make sure you have a Self-Inspection Electrical Safety Checklist. ...
  3. Test voltage test indicators immediately. ...
  4. Never work alone. ...
  5. Never assume a circuit is safe just because it is powered off.

What is electrical safety equipment? ›

PPEs Required to Enter a Substation

Hard hats (with full/partial brims as necessary) Safety glasses with side shields. Face shields and masks. Suitable footwear (safety/steel-toed boots, rated dielectric footwear) Insulating gloves (rated, used along with leather/cloth linings for shock protection)

Why should we use electricity carefully and only when needed? ›

Explanation: Conservation of electricity is more essential due to the concern for fast depletion of non-renewable sources of energy in the country. Conservation of electricity necessary to save the environment and the Earth from warming. ... We cannot afford to waste electricity at all.

How can you prevent electric shock at work? ›

Here are six ways employers can protect their workers from electric shock.
  1. Use Well-Insulated Cables. ...
  2. Protect Cables With Conduits. ...
  3. Avoid Working Near Electric Lines When Possible. ...
  4. Check for and Report Electrical Hazards. ...
  5. Wear PPE Rated for an Appropriate Voltage. ...
  6. Train Employees on Electrical Safety.
16 Sept 2021

What are the 3 hazards of electricity? ›

There are three main types of electrical hazards: electric shock, electrical burns, and arc blasts (the effect of blasts).

How important is electrical safety tips for you? ›

Electrical safety is important because hazards such as arc flash and shock can result in death if you are exposed to them. Fortunately, the likelihood of this occurring is relatively low. However, the control measures that prevent these hazards require careful management, attention to detail and technical competence.

What are the most important safety concerns for electricians? ›

The following hazards are the most frequent causes of electrical injuries: contact with power lines, lack of ground-fault protection, path to ground missing or discontinuous, equipment not used in manner prescribed, and improper use of extension and flexible cords.

Why is electrical safety important? ›

Electrically powered equipment can pose a significant hazard to workers, particularly when mishandled or not maintained. Many electrical devices have high voltage or high power requirements, carrying even more risk.

What are some general safety tips for working with or near electricity? ›

Electrical Safety Tips

Don't pull cables to release a plug from an outlet – hold the plug and pull it from the outlet. Also, turn the socket off at the wall before you unplug the device (if you can). Ensure that you unplug electrical items before you clean them.

How can we prevent electrical hazards? ›

Avoid electrical hazards both in your home and elsewhere:
  1. Never touch a fallen power line. ...
  2. Avoid contact with overhead power lines during cleanup and other activities.
  3. Do not drive through standing water if downed power lines are in the water.

What are the 5 main electrical hazards? ›

Five Electrical Hazards Worth Remembering
  • Working on live circuits. There are times when working on or around a live circuit is unavoidable, but most of the time, that isn't the case. ...
  • Skipping lockout/tagout. ...
  • Forgetting PPE. ...
  • Improper grounding. ...
  • Damaged extension cords.

What are the four main hazards of electricity? ›

What are the hazards?
  • electric shock and burns from contact with live parts.
  • injury from exposure to arcing, fire from faulty electrical equipment or installations.
  • explosion caused by unsuitable electrical apparatus or static electricity igniting flammable vapours or dusts, for example in a spray paint booth.

Which Colour is live wire? ›

The colour coding of wires is green for earth red for live and black for neutral.

What is an electrical hazard? ›

An Electrical Hazard can be defined as a serious workplace hazard that exposes workers to burns, electrocution, shock, arc flash / arc blast, fire, or explosions.

What safety rules must be followed when using electrical appliances? ›

Basic safety precautions
  • avoid overloading sockets by providing enough socket-outlets.
  • where possible switch off all appliances at the mains at the end of the working day.
  • switch off and unplug equipment before you clean it or make adjustments.
25 Sept 2019

What would you do if you encounter Danger High Voltage? ›

5 ways to stay safe in a High Voltage Hazardous Area
  1. Ensure proper personal protective equipment (PPE). ...
  2. Make sure you have a Self-Inspection Electrical Safety Checklist. ...
  3. Test voltage test indicators immediately. ...
  4. Never work alone. ...
  5. Never assume a circuit is safe just because it is powered off.

Videos

1. Pheelz x Davido - "Electricity" (Official Music Video)
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2. California power grid operators issue energy alerts; Newsom declares state of emergency
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3. Electricity: The Invisible Killer - Emergency First Responders
(Canadian Electricity Association | Association canadienne de l'électricité)
4. Triple-Digit Temperatures Raise Concerns Over California's Power Grid
(NBC News)
5. How to reconnect electricity supply after disconnection on EDMI pre-payment smart meter
(Scottish Power)
6. Emergency alert helps California avert blackouts
(KTLA 5)

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