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24 Apr 2024, Edition - 3207, Wednesday

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Better Safe Than Sorry This Festive Season

by businesswireindia.com

Business Wire India
Continuing from the fervor of festivals in the last month, the spirits remain high as there are many cultural and religious celebrations during this time of the year, it is officially the season of celebration and holiday in India. The festivals, weddings and the New Year celebrations bring in a lot of colour, vibrancy and it is often realized with enormous lighting inside as well as outside our homes, offices, buildings and our surrounding areas. While these celebrations seem fun they could turn into nightmares if you're not careful. Amid all the excitement the one thing you need to be most careful is electrical safety.
The risk of household fires is particularly high during the period as it is customary to light candles, lit up the house with fancy fixtures and LED light. Your basic decorations which appear harmless can also lead to accidents. An ideal home wiring is designed to prevent heat accumulation in the electrical system but sometimes failing equipment produce excessive heat risking us with overloading and short circuits resulting in electrical accidents and fire. Another risk factor is electrical leakages and shock hazard. It is very important to observe safety in the temporary electrical installation of light decorations.
It is understood that a common man is not expected to have technical knowledge in this regard. But let us see how by taking a few simple precautions, you can make sure that you and your family stay safe from an electrical mishap and celebrate.
  • Loose and worn outlets- If cords can be plugged into a socket very easily or if they simply fall out as time passes, the outlet needs replacement. Either tighten the wire nut connections and/or again change the outlet
  • Like outlets, switches will wear-out over time- Just like outlets, the wiring in the back or side of the switch or the wire nut may be loose and would need replacement to avoid mishaps
  • Old and Corroded Fixtures- As electrical parts age, the wiring degrades very to some extent each year. A light fixture may be good, but eventually, the wire insulation inside chars, the connections disintegrate, and the light bulb sockets won’t hold a bulb well. If lights glimmer or won’t stay lit and potential switch problems have been eliminated, it may be time to replace old light fixtures
  • Extension Cords- The use of extension cords should be assessed for necessity; they are a very common cause of home fires. When a cord is kinked or smashed the electrical resistance of the wire inside rises, which produces heat. As this happens more and more current starts to flow between the wires and ultimately causes a fire. If you must use an extension cord for long periods of time, make sure it is completely out of the way and not subject to physical harm or make additional provisions of electrical points at home or office for permanent solution
  • Continual Overloads- Every time a circuit trips or a fuse blows it is a sign that the circuit is overloaded, but most people will simply reset the breaker and do it again. Instead, call the electrician and do the necessary corrections in electrical installations rather than risking life of family with unexpected Electrical Accidents
  • Defective Equipment-Rarely equipment of various kinds can fail in such a way that it may not trip a breaker or blow a fuse but is still drawing more current than it should. Circuits, in general, can carry only 80% of the current the breaker will allow as a safety factor but when that is removed the safety becomes marginal leading to additional heat and resulting into a short circuit or fire
  • Improper Wiring Methods-A qualified and careful electrician will always follow the requirements of the BIS to produce a safe and effective electrical system, but the same isn’t true of homeowners who often don’t know what is safe. Improper wiring methods are the root causes of electrical accidents and thus, having your wiring checked is of greater value which is usually ignored but which is essentially life-saving
  • Check the electrical decorative item going to be used is in good condition. If you have old Christmas lights, seriously consider buying new ones which will meet much higher safety.
  • You will need a plug outlet to provide electrical supply to the electrical decorative item. In case of multiple items, avoid using multi-socket. Try to take supply from different sockets instead of crowding in a single socket.
  • In unavoidable circumstances, if an extension board is used, place it unreachable from children. Keep the extension cord in such a way that it will not hinder/come in a way of movement of persons
  • Plugging in / out shall always be done by putting the switch in off position. Check the plug top fits in properly instead of a loose connection
  • After switching on, if fuse blows off / MCB trips it may be because of overload or some fault. Under such occasion do not try to find out a solution at home immediately call the electrician to check and find a solution
  • If RCD (ELCB / RCCB) trips it is to save you from electrical shock. Call electrician to check the fault immediately
  • Considering heat generation in lamps or other items, place / maintain all related wiring, and electrical items in such a way that, they do not touch the cloth or any such item which will catch fire
  • It is important that the wires of all portable/temporary electrical items be double insulated (insulated and shielded). Please confirm it from the vendor at the time of purchasing
  • Place all wiring / decorative electrical items which will not hinder or lie on walkways/places of movement of people and as far as possible try to keep out of reach so that it could not be touched easily
  • Strictly observe that the electrical installation does not encounter water e.g. in the way of a garden, etc. unless it is the wiring used is waterproof. If there are chances of rain or it is time to water the garden, isolate from the electrical supply by switching off and removing plug top from the socket. Do not switch on until the area is dry
  • Take care in respect of decoration on trees to prevent possible damages from birds/squirrels etc.
  • Loose/hanging wires that meet sharp edges may cause damage to the wire insulation, especially in a windy environment
  • See that provision of RCD (ELCB/RCCB) is done, as it is life-saving under the circumstances of any fault which may be accidental/unforeseen / arising out of human error. Check if it trips when the test knob is pressed
  • The wires are of copper and appropriate size, other material used is complying standards, all material used is of reliable brands / purchased from reliable vendors
  • Circuits are protected with appropriate size fuse / MCB
  • Earthing system is efficient and intact
It is mandatory to get electrical installation work done through a licensed person who is responsible to observe above all time requirements. It is advised to get the installation tested periodically (at least once in 3 years) to confirm safety status through a qualified person licensed/having a permit in that regard. The certificate of testing / Test Report shall be preserved. Substandard wires, which can find their way when large work contracts are awarded and executed based on the lowest bids received, increase the chances of short circuits and fires. The use of safe and standardized copper wiring is a critical component of a robust electrical system. It is therefore imperative that strict standards are mandated for wiring, and care is taken to ensure that copper wires of the prescribed gauge are used. Proper installation to prescribed standards is the first step to a safe and robust system. At the same time, we should be aware that old installations demand periodical inspection to ensure the health of installation. Absence of regular inspections in the Indian context exposes homes and buildings to danger from fire. Proper installation and periodic checkups need to be addressed with all diligence at multiple levels in a spirit of shared responsibility rather than passing the buck or citing lack of human or material resources to delay or avoid inspection. Remember, safety should always come first so you can enjoy the experience fully without any regrets, so let us ask ourselves if we are festive ready and how electrically safe is our surrounding? 
Source: Businesswire