The repercussions of ignoring basic fire hazards could potentially shut your business down. Majority of small/privately owned businesses will struggle to recover after a major fire. Keeping an eye out for possible hazards will protect your business, employees, and members of the public. According to stats provided by electrical safety first.org 19,300 domestic fires and 12,000 commercial fires a year are caused by electrical faults. These fires are caused by a variety of reasons, the most common hazards are, faulty electrical equipment, loose connections, overloaded sockets, poor installation, and faulty connections. So what is an emergency electrical service? how do you prevent a fire caused by electrics? In this article we will outline some of the main hazards you should look out for.
Hazards discussed in this article
- Fire or Sparks
- Emergency electrical power outage
- Water damage
- Wiring exposure
Fire Or Sparks
If there’s a fire in your building, it goes without saying, 999 should be your immediate call.
When an appliance is connected, an outlet can create a spark. Some of these sparks are identified as normal. For example, when you plug in your appliance and there’s a small blue spark. Electricity runs through a circuit; these circuits have outlets where you plug in your appliances. The spark is caused by the plug joining this circuit. These small sparks are safe, and you don’t need to contact an electrician.
If you see a big spark that lasts longer than a second and it takes a while to go down, this is a sign of a faulty circuit. In addition, sparks of different colours are also signs of a bigger issue within the electrical circuit.
Other signs of a faulty electrical circuit are burn marks on the plug and the smell of burning. If you see these signs, turn off the plug immediately and do not use the appliances. What you maybe smelling is the start of a fire.
There are several reasons as to why your electrical outlets are sparking. If you notice any of the above, we highly recommend you contact a licensed commercial electrician. Making that call immediately could potentially save lives as well as your business.
Emergency electrical power outage
Something as simple as a power outage can potentially be hazardous, especially if the neighbouring buildings are not affected. If your property is the only one to lose power its likely the issue has been caused by something within your own space.
Water in the wires
As you know, water and electricity should never mix. When there’s a flooding or plumbing issues, water can potentially access the wiring systems. If this has occurred in your building it is important to contact an emergency electrical engineer. Depending on the severity of the situation you maybe required to call 999 to be safe. Its also important to note, even if the water is not visible it may have already gone through false floors/ceilings or cavity walls. These arears are often used as a pathway for wiring.
Electrical wiring exposure
Much alike everything else, power outlets can suffer from wear and tear. Repeated use of outlets can cause the contact points to wear down. The old socket will require your immediate attention. Failure to address this hazard will eventually lead to sparks of electricity that can be dangerous to both you and your employees. Similarly, wires are also prone to wear and tear. If you spot wires that have become exposed from their casing or a plug with frayed wire, you must fix this issue. Unprotected wires can often be live wires, if this not properly insulated it can present an extreme health and safety hazard.
Emergency electrical services conclusion
To reduce the likelihood of a fire in your commercial building its important to do a regular assessment of your electrical wiring and appliances. A simple visual assessment may save you life, employees lives and the business. Furthermore, a Portable Appliance Testing (PAT Testing) should also be part of your maintenance plan. Although this is not strictly a legal requirement the government has put regulations in place to ensure PAT testing is performed as part of other regulations such as The electricity at work regulation of 1989, Health and Safety at work act of 1974, The management of health and safety at work regulation of 1999 and The provision use of work equipment regulations of 1998 . Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines of up to £5,000 and/or 6 months imprisonment.
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