Electrical Safety ABC for Older People
Electrical accidents cause at least one death a week and over 250 000 injuries a year in the UK. With electrical faults and various electricity-related accidents being the number one reason for the majority of domestic fires, seniors are marked to be at the highest risk of such accidents to happen. Therefore, electrical safety is of particular importance for older and vulnerable people, especially those with physical or mental illnesses. If you have concerns about a property, family member, friend or a neighbour, here is some advice that should help to reduce the risk of electrical accidents.
Appliances should be checked at least once a year, if any appliance has exposed wiring, signs of a burn on the plug, or other indications of damage, they should not be in use since they can cause an electrical accident.
Bathroom is a place where no electrical sockets should exist at all. However, if the senior’s bathroom has any electrical sockets, they should be at least three metres away from a shower or bath – otherwise, they should be removed.
Cables and cords should not be hidden under rugs or carpets. Also, make sure they are checked periodically for damage, cracks, and breaks.
Don’t let a senior start digging the garden or backyard before making sure there are no underground power cables in the area.
Extension cords should ONLY be used on a temporary basis. Make sure they are not overloaded with plugs – this could cause overheating or even a fire.
Fuse box is responsible for monitoring all the electrics in your home, therefore, it is very important to keep it in a safe working condition. One of the most common signs that there might be an issue with a fuse box is electricity tripping off. Get your fuse box checked immediately.
Garden equipment – be careful when using electrical equipment in the garden and plug the appliances only into an RCD protected sockets.
Heaters should not be left unattended or used whilst sleeping. Heaters should be kept away from paper, furniture, clothing, and curtains.
Install a smoke alarm – it is one of the household essentials which could save a life one day. If the person already has one – make sure the batteries are changed at least every year and that the alarm is working. You can test your alarm by clicking the “test” button on it.
Just keep reading – you won’t be able to find any other electrical safety ABC like this.
Kitchen is a place where half of all electrical fires at home happen. Make sure that all the devices, plugs and sockets are not damaged. Do not put anything on top of your microwave and keep the kitchen clean and tidy – dust and dirt could block ventilation and cause device overheating.
Light fittings can become overheated, so be aware of such signs as curled labels, discolouration or scorching. If you see any signs of cracking or burn marks around the light fittings stop using them immediately and get them checked by a registered electrician.
Make sure that electrical maintenance is done only by a qualified electrician. Seniors are more susceptible to fraud or visits of fake electricians who can do more harm than good. Have the service done only by officially registered specialists.
Never attempt DIY electrical work. It is illegal and can cause electrical shock or fires. Always call a certified electrician instead.
Old electric blankets which are over 10 years old should be replaced with new ones. Do not use any electric blankets bought from charity shops, car boot sales or other unreliable sources. Don’t use the electric blanket with a hot water bottle, or wet hands or feet.
Plugs should be pulled instead of the cords when disconnecting an electrical device.
Qualified electricians only should deal with any electrical issues within the home. Do not allow work to be completed by anyone who is uncertified.
RCD (residual current device) is a life-saving device that can prevent a fatal electric shock in case of an accident. RCS is particularly important for anyone passionate about gardening or other activities involving the use of high voltage electrical devices.
Sockets should not be overloaded with extension cords.
Trailing leads of electrical devices can be very dangerous, particularly for older people. Make sure that leads are out of the way, so they can’t cause accidents.
Undertake full electrical checks if they have not been done in the last ten years and the property is over 50 years old.
Vulnerable seniors having physical or mental diseases should not be left at home alone without the approval of a doctor. Do not put them at risk – you never know what can happen within those few minutes.
Water and electricity do not mix, hence special precautions should be taken in wet areas such as laundry rooms, kitchens or bathrooms.
X-mas lights should not be damaged and should be switched off before going to bed.
Your relatives are your responsibility – make sure they are safe in their homes.
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