Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Dangers of electricity around your homes

ELECTRICITY is vital to our everyday life as we use it to heat our homes, cook or refrigerate our food.

We also need it to power our computers and television sets, which connect us to our world in thousands of different ways.

Nevertheless, as critical as electrical power is to our life, it is important that we handle it with care because it can also be a killer.

Reports are many in Zambia of people who have died every year through an unfortunate accident involving electricity.

Abused, electricity can cause shock, burns, psychological and neurological damage, and even stop the heart and that obviously means death.

With the launch of load shedding by our power utility Zesco Limited, the need to take extra care in the usage of power becomes even more paramount for the safety of both people and property.

People must therefore fully understand electrical hazards that could be easily corrected, which pose serious threats to safety.

It has already been discovered that as a result of poor wiring in some homes electrical outlets are always overloaded.

These overburdened outlets can easily become overheated and lead to fires which in many parts of Zambian have burnt down houses.

Experts have also revealed that another threat can be found in worn-out cords on electrical appliances that leave exposed wires which consequently lead to avoidable fires.

Uncovered sockets throughout the house can also be a risk to young children who might insert a butter knife, hairpin or other object that conducts electricity and receive a severe shock.

Handled with care and respect, electricity is an essential part of life in our homes.

However, it is vital that people protect their families by taking the simple precautions to secure homes’ electrical environment every day.

We therefore cannot agree more with Zesco Limited spokesperson Henry Kapata’s advice to customers to ensure that all electrical appliances are completely switched off during the current four-hour power outages to avoid homes being burned down when electricity comes back.

There have been a few cases of houses catching fire after the load shedding programme started in some selected parts of Zambia such as in Lusaka and the Copperbelt.

Mr Kapata therefore advises Zesco Limited customers to be careful when power goes by ensuring that all electrical appliances are turned off.

He sadly observes that some people are failing to put measures to ensure that fires are not started in their homes when power returns by completely switching off and unplugging their electrical appliances.

“When there is no power for four hours people must ensure all electricity appliances are off and the plugs out of the socket outlets because already, we have received reports of homes catching fire when it is restored.

“We have a few incidents of fire outbreaks in homes because people forgot to switch off electrical appliance once power goes, and  if they are not properly turned off that can put a house on fire,” he said.

Mr Kapata says the other cause of fire is overloading the sockets in homes.

“You find one socket has a fridge, TV, computer, printer among others” when power comes.

 It will create a short circuit because the switch was not meant to be overloaded.

We therefore support his advice to consumers to always unplug the extensions and appliances whether power is on or off because if a switch is not off or unplugged it consumes 50 percent of power.

So it is dangerous that power consumers take Zesco Limited’s advice unfailingly for their own protection and that of their properties.

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