Electrical emergencies can happen at any time, and they can put you and your loved ones’ safety at risk if you’re not adequately prepared to handle them. At Harrison Electric, helping Twin Cities families keep their electrical systems safe is our number one goal, and that starts with education.
If you’re unsure how to safely deal with an unexpected and potentially dangerous electrical emergency, follow our tips below for handling the situation.
1. Get Prepared
Being as proactive as possible is one of the best things you can do to help protect your home and loved ones in the event of an electrical emergency. Here’s what you need to do to prepare:
● Have a list of emergency contacts readily available.
● Find an emergency electrician you can trust and keep their contact information handy.
● Place at least one fire extinguisher in an easily accessible location (under the kitchen sink, in the garage, and near your electrical panel are good places).
Since these situations can be overwhelming and cause your mind to go in 50 directions at once, it’s helpful to have things ready. You never know if or when an emergency might occur, so now is the time to get it done if you don’t already have the above items in place.
2. Tips for Handling Wiring or Outlet Damage
If you ever find a damaged outlet, light, fixture, or section of wiring in your home, do not approach it, and whatever you do, do not touch it! Most residential outlets deliver 120 volts of electricity, and the outlets for your larger appliances (like your washer, fridge, etc.) most likely deliver 240 volts. This amount of voltage is more than enough to cause burns, or worse, electrocution.
If you have small kids, prevent them from entering the room where the damaged component is, and immediately head to your circuit breaker or fuse panel and locate the switch that controls power to the affected room. Switch it off and immediately call an electrician who can inspect the damage and repair the problem safely.
3. How to Handle Isolated Power Loss
If the power goes out, check with your neighbors to verify whether they still have electricity. If you learn the issue is isolated to your house alone, contact an emergency electrician immediately. Several wiring problems can cause isolated power outages, and all of them present a serious hazard to you and anyone in your house. This is not something you should ever try to diagnose or repair on your own.
The issue may be related to the electrical line that supplies your house, damaged electrical circuits, or damaged wiring, but no matter what’s causing the problem, only a trained and licensed electrician can fix it safely.
4. Handling a Downed Power Line
High winds and severe weather can easily down power lines, and if you ever find yourself with a downed line near your home, you need to be very careful. Here’s how to handle the situation as safely as possible:
● Assume all downed lines are still energized. You cannot tell whether they’re live just by looking at them.
● If you’re indoors when you notice the line, stay there. Do not approach a downed power line EVER. The ground around that line may be energized for up to 35 feet in all directions.
● Do not attempt to move the downed line with any object. Even non-conductive materials can conduct electricity when they’re slightly wet.
● Call your electrical service provider so they can come to address any immediate safety issues.
● Call an emergency electrician. You’ll need to have your connection inspected and possibly repaired after the incident, and your electric company won’t take care of that. Most power companies won’t restore your power until an electrician has inspected the connection and deemed it safe.
5. Electric Shock
Sometimes electrical emergencies turn grim. You or someone may accidentally come in contact with a high-voltage current. At times, an electric shock may cause burns or simply jolt the victim, leaving no visible scars. At its worst, however, electric shock can turn deadly. Electrical shock may cause internal damage and result in cardiac arrest. Depending on the voltage and the victim's health, it could happen with almost any shock.
What to do
Do not touch the victim if they are still connected to the electrical current. If you come into contact with them, you may suffer the same severe shock, which will be fatal for both of you. Instead, find the source of the electrical current and shut it off immediately.
If you cannot find the source of the electrical current, try finding a non-conductive object and jar them loose. Once the electricity is off or you manage to release them from the electricity’s violent grasp, move away at least twenty feet from the current is. However, it’s crucial not to move the victim any farther if possible, as it could worsen their injuries.
After you and the person with an electrical injury are at a safe distance, you should contact 911 immediately. If the shock victim experiences loss of breath, circulation, or consciousness. Grab a blanket to keep the shock victim warm and sterilize and apply bandages to the wound if possible.
Harrison Electric: Your Source for 24-Hour Emergency Electrical Service in Minneapolis
If you ever find yourself in the midst of an electrical emergency, don’t hesitate to call our team at Harrison Electric for immediate help. We offer 24/7 emergency residential electrical service for homes throughout Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the surrounding areas, and we’ve proudly served the Twin Cities metro for over 30 years.
All of our electricians are fully licensed, insured, and bonded, and we offer a limited lifetime warranty on all installations.
To learn more about our services or schedule routine electrical service, give us a call today at 763-544-3300, request a quote online, or send us a message, and we’ll get in touch!