The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) is trying to raise awareness of electrical safety in the home among new parents.
This prompted us at DIY Doctor to join our voice to that of the ESC, and MumsNet, who are also concerned about this problem. In the UK each year there are approximately 350,000 electrical related accidents in their homes and sadly around 50 of these are fatal. In addition to direct injury the fire brigade report that 50% of household fires are caused by electrical faults.
New parents are understandably anxious to protect their children and spend lots of money on safety devices such as socket covers, but what they are not considering is whether their system is as safe as it could be.
‘If your wiring is unsafe, buying such localised protection is like putting a sticking plaster on the problem,’ explains Mike Edwards CEO of DIY Doctor ‘I am not saying parents shouldn’t use these safety devices on sockets, but they should not feel that it is a failsafe method of avoiding electrocution’. He believes that many householders are not aware of the benefit of getting a Residual Current Device (RCD) installed by a qualified electrician. RCD’s are designed to trip if there is any fault or short circuit. So if you mistakenly damage a cable while drilling into walls, or a child pokes something into a socket, the RCD will shut off the electric supply to that area. Read more about RCD’s in our Consumer Unit Project.
What can you do?
Have your system checked by a qualified electrician and invest in an RCD if you don’t already have one. Having made sure the system is safe don’t do anything that may damage it. When you are drilling into walls make sure you avoid any cables by searching for them before you drill using a cable detector.
Don’t forget, all but the most basic electrical work should be carried out by a qualified electrician. This follows an amendment to the building regulations and is covered in greater detail in our Part P Project.