Loadshedding and Fires

Power disruption catches many persons unaware. In the domestic environment it may be experienced in the midst of some activity such as food preparation, attending a concert performance, watching television or simply going about normal routines.  In the work environment, it could disrupt a wide array of activities.

There is growing preparedness for these events in the utilisation of alternative power supply sources such as inverters, generators and Uninterrupted Power Supply Units. Whilst each of these carry their own set of risks, this article will focus on the circuitry risk of load-shedding.

When power is returned, it is possible that a power spike, known as a surge, can occur, albeit within milliseconds. This sudden oversupply of power can cause vulnerable electronic components to overheat and fail, and in some cases, catch alight. 

Mitigation steps:

1.    Have an electrician install surge protection in your Distribution Boards and utilise plug type surge protection at plug points of all delicate electronic apparatus such as televisions, computers, battery charging points etc. It is however important that you periodically check on the status of your surge protection plugs. If the red light is getting weaker or goes out altogether, the unit should be changed.

2.     When the power goes out, switch off any appliances that were on at the time and remove the plug from the wall socket. Simply switching off is not always sufficient. Once power is restored, give it a few seconds and then plug in and switch on again.

3.     Have a suitable fire extinguisher in the vicinity, know where it is, how to use it and keep it serviced and ready for use. Water cannot be safely used on fires involving electrical apparatus so rather seek out a dry powder type extinguisher.

For larger Distribution Boards and apparatus, consider installing fixed fire protection systems. there are a variety of inexpensive solutions on the market. Contact us if you need more information around these.

Be aware, be alert, be prepared. Stay safe.