Safety with Electricity
Energy Safety tips for when you are in your home
Ensuring your family's safety is important to us. Here are some handy reminders for improving safety around the home.
Safety in the kitchen
- Make sure saucepan handles never overhang the edge of the stovetop where they could cause an accident. Also, don't put them across a hot element.
- Never cover the pan when you are cooking with oil or frying chips and always watch it until the food is cooked.
- If a slice of bread gets stuck in your toaster, switch the toaster off and unplug it. Then let it cool down before you try to remove bread, making sure you don't damage the element. Never use a metal object to take out the bread.
- Don't dry tea towels over the stove.
- The New Zealand Fire Service recommends a suitable fire extinguisher is kept handy in the kitchen in case of an emergency.
Safety in the bedroom
- When purchasing an electric blanket, always buy new; be wary of second-hand devices.
- Consider blankets with overheat protection as they are safer.
- Always follow manufacturer’s instructions when using your electric blanket.
- Tie electric blankets firmly down and never stick pins in them to secure them to the bed.
- Never use a hot water bottle at the same time as an electric blanket.
- You should have a blanket serviced if it's over three years old. If it is damaged, scorched or the connections are loose or worn, get the blanket checked immediately.
- When storing your electric blanket, roll or fold it with as few creases as possible and store it away from other bedding.
- Never smoke in bed.
Safety in the bathroom
- The combination of water and electrical appliances makes taking safety precautions in and around the bathroom incredibly important.
- Electric socket outlets are permitted to be installed in bathrooms providing they are the RCCD type. You must still be particularly safety conscious when using these because of water and condensation.
- Never use portable appliances in the bathroom, even if you plug them in outside.
- Fixed appliances, such as heaters, towel rails and mirror lights, must be firmly attached to the wall. They can be located above a bath or near the shower provided they have been installed with permanent wiring and the correct RCCD type socket protection, by a registered electrician.
- We strongly recommend using a qualified registered electrician for all electrical work in the bathroom.
- You can install a shaver if it runs off a permanent shaver socket with an isolating transformer.
- Metal frames for example, those around showers or mirrors must be securely earthed and bonded to the remaining metal-work in the bathroom.
- If you don’t have an external socket, the simplest way to plug in equipment you’re using outside is to put an extension cable through the door or window and plug this into a socket that is protected by an RCCD inside the house. Make sure the doors or windows don’t jam the cord.
- Beware of trailing cords; make sure you keep the cord away from any appliance you’re using, where there’s no chance of cutting through it.
- If you do cut the cord, keep everyone well away from the equipment and the cord. Pull the plug out from the mains socket before you touch the cord - even if you’ve fitted the necessary safety devices.
- Don’t repair the break with insulating tape. Fit a waterproof rubber cable connector, and make sure it’s properly connected.
- Where possible use the shortest extension cord you have available. As a longer cord reduces the supply of electricity and can cause serious hazards.
- Beware of ladders with aluminum parts – if they come into contact with power lines they will act as conductors of electricity. Remember it’s safer and easier to carry your ladder horizontally when moving around.
- Whether you are cleaning out gutters or painting, always be careful when working on your roof. Look up to check the location of overhead wiring in relation to where you are working.
- Check before you dig! Before you begin any property maintenance or excavation work make sure you identify any underground wires or services. Your network company should be able to assist with telling you the position of gas, electricity and water supplies on your property.
- Kite flying or playing near power lines can be fatal – if a kite gets caught in the power lines never attempt to retrieve it.
- It is your responsibility to ensure that trees on your property do not interfere with power lines. Never attempt to remove tree or debris yourself, hire a tree clearing expert or contact your network company.