Electrical safety

If the safety switch regularly shuts down the power supply at your home, even with small levels of power consumption, it’s possible that the wiring has been damaged or is obsolete. Signals like this can’t be ignored, as this can lead to a fire or an electrical injury.

According to fire safety regulations, the technical condition of the internal electrical network of every home has to be checked at least once every 10 years. We advise using the services of a certified electrician – professionals can be found at www.leb.lv or www.bleea.lv, or by reaching out to your property manager.

Electrical injuries are most often sustained when acting carelessly or when using electrical appliances not in accordance with their instructions for use. An electrical current can have various effects on our bodies depending on its strength – it can cause very severe and even fatal injuries. When coming into contact with electricity, we are subject to electric shock, as a result of which the following can occur:

  • milder or stronger muscle contractions similar to cramps;
  • loss of consciousness;
  • heart problems or breathing problems;
  • paralysis or death.

When using electrical appliances carelessly, we can also suffer other types of injuries:

  • burns – from small blisters to extensive skin damage that can lead to amputation of the arms and legs or even death;
  • irreversible damage to the skin when small metal particles or vapour comes into contact with the skin through the electrical current;
  • eye injuries that can cause eye inflammation or even blindness;
  • bone fractures and bruises that can occur if we receive an electric shock and fall from height.

In the event of an electrical injury, there can be two scenarios – a person coming into contact with low voltage (up to 1000V) and a person coming into contact with high voltage (more than 1000V).

High voltage is present at power transmission lines, transformer substations and other objects where there is a need for large power capacity, whereas low voltage is mostly present at our homes and other places where electricity is available for safe use. In each of these scenarios, there are significant differences between the required actions. The only way to help a person who has been exposed to a high voltage current is to immediately get in touch with the State Fire and Rescue Service by dialling 112 or get in touch with the owner of the electrical installation. Under no circumstances should you approach a person exposed to the electric current or the area of the leakage, since any contact with high voltage is deadly.

When helping a person who has been exposed to a low voltage current, you need to act fast but advisedly:

1. You need to immediately assess the situation and try to carefully cut off the electric current. This can be done by turning off the power supply, shutting down the main safety switch, the electrical appliance, motor, etc. If that doesn’t work or isn’t possible, do not touch the victim under any circumstances – in these situations you can try setting the victim free from the electric current by using a non-conductive object (e.g., made out of rubber or dry wood).

2. When the victim has been set free from the current, you need to try to communicate with him/her. If the victim isn’t responding or reacting in any way, you need to call for emergency care by dialling 112. If no fatal injuries have occurred, it is advised to get in touch with the family doctor.

3. While waiting for emergency care, you can provide first aid to the victim by following the instructions of rescue service specialists.

  • Don’t use an electrical appliance even if seemingly minor damage is visible, its casing is damaged, the insulation of the connection cable is damaged, the connection cable has a damaged plug or doesn’t have one at all.
  • Don’t use homemade or repaired fuse links.
  • Don’t repair appliances connected to the electrical network.
  • Don’t change bulbs or clean lighting fixtures if the voltage isn’t switched off.
  • Don’t drive nails or drill holes into walls and ceilings without checking for wiring.
  • Don’t use household appliances connected to the electrical network (e.g., washing machines, irons, juicers, kettles and other electrical appliances not intended for outdoor use) in the yard or garden.
  • The electrical network of a home may only be constructed by specialists of licensed companies or certified electricians.
  • It can be dangerous to simultaneously touch electrical appliances and grounded structures.
  • Before connecting a new electrical appliance to the electrical network read the instructions for use carefully.
  • Only electrical appliances intended for outdoor use should be used outdoors. They need to be stored in a dry and safe place.
  • In order to prevent potential accidents, qualified maintenance and periodic inspections of electrical installations must be performed. They’re performed by certified specialists.
  • Automatic circuit breakers should be used in especially dangerous locations to protect people, animals, and property.
  • It is recommended to choose appliances with double insulation, as this will prevent electrical injuries and will make it easier to connect them to the electrical network. If it isn’t possible to purchase an appliance with double insulation, choose an appliance that has safety earthing in its body, as indicated by a plug with a safety earthing clamp.
  • Suitable automatic circuit breakers must be installed in the place of old fuses for convenient and safe operation.
  • To ensure the uninterrupted operation of appliances, it is appropriate to use an uninterruptible power source (UPS).

Have electrical work performed by a professional electrician. Have a specialist replace a socket or install a new socket; lay, re-route or replace electrical wiring; install and connect lighting fixtures; repair damaged electrical appliances and perform other related work. You can acquire the contact information of certified specialists by calling reference services that have the most extensive information on professionals for everyday electrical repairs, as well as the 24-hour assistance service of performers of such works.

Before starting any electrical repairs, remember to disconnect your home from the electrical network by shutting down the main safety switch of the electrical connection.

How do you correctly replace a light bulb that has burnt out?

  • Turn off the power switch or unplug the appliance from the socket.
  • Change the bulb.
  • Turn on the power switch and check how the light bulb works.
  • If the bulb doesn’t light up, switch off the power again and only then try to find the cause of the problem – check whether the light bulb is damaged, tighten it. Turn to a professional electrician if the lighting cannot be restored. Do not attempt to repair the lighting fixtures or household appliances yourself!