Electricity is a source of energy that has become integral to our daily lives. Because we are so used to living with and using electricity, it is easy to forget how powerful it is and the precautions that we should take to remain safe around our homes and workplaces.
Here you will find some useful information about how to avoid electrical accidents. This information should be used as a guide only and if more specific information is required you should contact EPC or a licensed electrician.
Safety at Home..
Ensure children are taught the dangers of electricity from a young age to prevent accidents due to ignorance.
Inside the House
- Never use appliances with faulty, frayed, exposed or cracked electrical wires,
- Switch off power points before plugging or unplugging devices
- Do not attempt repairs of electrical appliances, wires or switches. Hire a qualified licensed electrician to attend to repairs
- If you use a portable light, ensure it is fitted with insulation to protect from burns and potential overheating
- Turn off all appliances such as electrical oven, kettles, iron when leaving home
- Do not overload power boards. It is much safer to have another power point installed
- Do not allow liquids to come into contact with power points or sockets
- Never touch anything electrical with wet hands or bare feet
- Use caution when operating electrical appliances near water sources and always switch off after use
- Appliances must be discarded immediately if they have been immersed in water
- Ensure electrical cords are kept our of reach of children
- Know where the switchboard/meter box is located on your property in case of an emergency
- Always ensure the main switch is turned off when replacing fuses
- Hire a licensed electrician to inspect the switchboard in the case of disorder
Outside the House
- Always keep well clear of overhead power lines
- Be careful when working in high areas. Always contact EPC to switch off the power supply during the time that you are working close to overhead lines
- If you are excavating land in your area ensure you check with EPC to determine where underground cables lie to prevent interference
Environmental interference is a serious issue affecting electricity supply in Samoa. The tropical climate encourages rapid growth of vegetation and also means that the country is subject to extreme and destructive weather conditions, such as high winds and cyclones. As a result, minimizing environmental risk to ensure a safe and reliable power supply is of prime importance to EPC.
The practice of tree clearing is in place to prevent injury to people, damage to property and to ensure all customers have access to reliable electricity. EPC has an ongoing maintenance program to keep trees and branches clear of dangerous high and low voltage power lines.
Keeping vegetation clear of power lines will help to prevent:
- Accidental electrocution.
- Interruption to power supply caused by interfering vegetation.
- Electrical fires.
Service your service line; HV or LV leave it to EPC
When vegetation on private properties’ is affecting the dangerous HV or LV lines, EPC will seek permission from the property owner to trim or cut down the interfering trees. It is however, the responsibility of a land owner to clear vegetation planted on their land that may affect service lines on either theirs or neighboring properties. When a tree becomes a potential problem the customer should contact EPC to arrange a power shutdown so that the property owner can safely clear the impeding trees.
Plant away from power lines
Planting away from power lines or planting the correct species of trees near power lines, will also help to prevent environmental interference in the first instance. It is for this reason that customers are responsible for clearing trees within their own property prior to them growing and interfering with service lines.
You can avoid the need to trim trees by planning the way you plant them. By planting large growing trees such as Coconut, Breadfruit and Mango trees away from power lines, they will be allowed to grow larger and thus produce fruit to their full capacity. If you want to plant trees near power lines ensure that they are shorter varieties of shrubs and bushes that will not grow tall enough to reach the power lines.
Safety during a storm/strong winds
Power lines can be damaged in multiple ways including by the weather, trees, animals, vandalism and car accidents. Fallen or damaged power lines can be very dangerous as they carry a high amount of energy. In Samoa, this is a problem that is difficult to prevent due to extreme weather conditions during the cyclone season. It is important to report fallen or damaged power lines to EPC immediately so they can be attended to.
There are precautions that can be taken to prevent electrical related danger during the cyclone season. These include:
- Keep appliances and electrical cords out of the rain and away from exposed areas.
- Do not use extension cords outdoors except when using an appliance. Extension cords should not be used outdoors permanently.
- Do not climb trees, buildings or ladders near overhead power lines or during a storm.
- Avoid touching trees or branches near power lines during a storm.
- Keep an alternative source of power, such as an oil lamp, in the house in the event that a power outage occurs.
- Do not attempt repairs to power lines or appliances these must be attended to by EPC or a licensed electrician.
- Clear loose items from around the property that could interfere with the electrical supply during a storm.
- Unplug sensitive appliances such as computers, televisions and audio-visual equipment to prevent damage.