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Staying safe around electricity

We want you and your family to stay safe around electricity. Here are some handy tips about what to do to keep yourself and others safe.

Downed power lines

Downed power lines are extremely dangerous and can kill. If you see power lines down, stay well clear (at least eight meters away) and make sure other people and animals keep well away. Never approach to take a closer look.

Call 111 and ask to speak to the Fire Service and give as many clear details as you can, as this will help them find you sooner.

If you're in a vehicle and the power lines are across or very close to your vehicle, it’s safest for you to stay in your vehicle whilst waiting for emergency services. If fire is a very real danger and you need to get out of the vehicle, it’s important you don’t touch the car and the ground at the same time — jump away from the vehicle as far as you can.

Electrical fires

If an electrical appliance starts smoking, arcing or making a bang, or there is a burning smell or flames, make sure you and others at your property are safe. If you're unable to switch off the appliance at the wall, or if there is a fire:

  1. exit the property 
  2. call 111 and ask for the Fire Service.

Electrical fires need specialist equipment to be dealt with, never attempt to put out an electrical fire with water.

Electric Shock

An electric shock can be life threatening, so here’s what you need to know to keep yourself safe from electric shock:

  • don’t handle switches or electrical appliances with wet hands
  • don’t use implements to touch live electrical parts (for example using a knife to remove toast from a plugged-in toaster or poking an electrical socket)
  • turn off mains power to your house if you’re doing DIY work that could touch electrical wiring
  • if you're fishing near power lines, check around you before casting. Fishing lines can conduct electricity, so if these touch power lines there is a risk of electrical shock
  • if you're towing a water vehicle, or are out on the water, check for overhead lines. You must remain at least 4 meters away from these at all times.

If someone receives an electric shock

  1. Don’t touch the injured person if they are still in contact or close to the source of electricity
  2. If it is safe to do so, turn off the source of the electricity (for example at the mains switch)
  3. If the source of the electricity is close by or on the injured person it is important to remove it BUT only if you will be safe – find a non-conducting piece of equipment such as a wooden broom handle and attempt to remove the source of electricity
  4. Call 111 and ask for an ambulance.