Safety Tips About Electricity

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When discussing electricity and safety, many people neglect to mention the fact that most house fires are caused by electrical problems. Avoid handling electrical appliance with wet hands, and switch off electrical supplies when changing appliances with help from a science teacher in this free video on electricity safety.

Part of the Video Series: Physics & Electromagnetism
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Video Transcript

Hi. I'm Steve Jones and I'm going to give you some safety tips on electricity. And I've got a board full here of things that you generally see as advice about electricity. But I think there is one word which misses out and is often missed and there is fire. Fire is the thing that kills more people in homes than anything else. And usually it's because of an electrical fault. And there are certain things. We know that two hundred and fifty volt electricity kills if you get a shock. But generally a lot of people get shocks of electricity and survive. The reason is AC electricity actually gives you a chance to let go of the thing that you've touched and that means that you will survive. So, and if by taking some basic simple precautions like switching off the supply when you change things, handling appliances with wet hands, you don't do. You don't use mains appliances near a water supply. If you just stick to those things, those are easy. But the things that people do are, they put multiple plugs with too many and too much. That is you have a set of plugs and you plug in adapters and you plug plugs into the adapters. You plug your electric fire in, you plug your computer in and an extra light and this and that and by the time you've finished, you've got a potential time bomb. Because sooner or later that thing is going to melt. You can't expect a single plug to take more than the capacity it can take. Luckily there are fuses and these usually will go before anything happens. But sometimes of course people are silly and they put a bigger fuse in than is necessary and therefore the thing gets hotter and hotter and hotter because the current is much bigger than it should be taking because there's a fault. And eventually the thing gets so hot it starts to burn. And that is what causes house fires. That is what causes death in homes. So whilst I do say that yes you should be aware of these and with DC electricity even more because DC is very, very dangerous. Direct current is very dangerous and far more so than alternating current. But usually the voltages are very small. And therefore you don't worry. You don't have more than twelve volts for example, normally. So remember this. My biggest safety tip on electricity is be very sensible about what you're plugging in. Don't use multiple plugs unless it's for something like a computer system where the electricity it's going to take is very, very low. Don't put too many things on one plug. Don't put too much capacity. Particularly with heating devices, like irons, toasters, waffle makers, heaters. All on one plug, you're asking for trouble. You're asking for fire. That's the biggest safety tip I can give you. Be safe.

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