This is sponsored content for Evoenergy.
'Safety' has taken on a whole new meaning as so many Canberrans seek refuge at home during the coronavirus crisis.
To the usual list of precautions, like baby safety gates on the stairs, plug covers, sports mouth guards and shin pads, helmets and seatbelts, we've now added hand sanitiser and face masks.
Keeping an eye out for electrical hazards at home, and maintaining a safe distance from power poles and powerlines are two other essential considerations for keeping loved ones safe during this time of confinement.
Evoenergy, Canberra's local energy network provider, is no stranger to thinking about safety, all day, every day.
Over 330 local men and women work at Evoenergy 24/7 to ensure local homes and businesses stay powered and lights stay on, and they are frontline to the ever-present danger of electricity.
Electricity is different to a lot of other dangers in our lives.
You can't see it, but if you get a shock or a tingle you'll certainly feel it and know it's there.
Evoenergy staff know all too well that if you are in the unfortunate position to feel electricity, you'll be lucky to come away with your life.
Evoenergy Acting Network Services Manager Paul Wheatley knows from personal experience that electrical safety is a necessity.
"I've worked at Evoenergy and its predecessors for a long time now, almost 20 years, and during that time, I have developed a new appreciation for the power and force of electricity," Paul said.
"When I was a young bloke [before I worked for Evoenergy and didn't know better], I dabbled in the occasional home electrical DIY job, and I experienced the odd shock or jolt when I isolated the wrong circuit and didn't test, or just forgot which side of a fuseway was live."
"I never had a serious injury doing home DIY but knowing what I do now, I realise that these minor shocks could have been so much worse."
Evoenergy is proud to have one of the safest and most reliable networks in the country.
Staff work hard to maintain the network in a way that prioritises the safety of the community and their crews in everything they do.
"Fatalities related to electricity distribution networks are rare, but each year we have a number of minor injuries or near misses reported to us that continue to keep me awake at night."
The majority of near misses and injuries Paul and his teams see are caused by digging too close to or hitting underground cables.
"We're always urging people to call Dial Before You Dig on 1100 before doing any minor or major renovations at home," Paul said.
There are also other "sneaky", less known electrical hazards that everyone should be aware of, including "shocks and tingles" inside the home.
"Shocks and tingles are what we refer to as mild electrical shock," Paul said.
"We often get asked about the difference between static electricity and shocks and tingles."
"Static electricity happens when there is a build-up of electrical energy through friction, like when you walk on a wool rug then touch a metal object and feel a 'zap'."
An electric shock or tingle is sudden discharge of an electrical current through your body that may feel warm, or like pins and needles.
Even mild electrical shocks are cause for concern because they can cause external and internal burns, nerve damage, and heart problems, while more severe electric shocks can be fatal.
Shocks and tingles can be caused by a number of things and more often than not, indicate an underlying issue such as faulty wiring or appliances, or can indicate a voltage issue.
"As an electricity network distributor, our job is to transport electricity to what we call the 'network boundary', which in most cases is the service fuse at your meter box or on the facia board where an overhead service is attached," Paul said.
"Beyond this, the property owner is responsible for their electrical wiring and electricity maintenance."
"We are always closely monitoring the reliability and integrity of our electricity network, but when it comes to resolving shocks and tingles, it takes a community effort to identify, repair, and make safe."
"If you get a shock or tingle-even if it is only mild, please call us on 13 10 93 so we can investigate."
"And if the situation is life threatening, call 000."
Even mild shocks and tingles could be a warning sign of a serious electrical fault that shouldn't be ignored.
"Along with keeping an eye out for shocks and tingles, I encourage everyone to do regular checks for electrical hazards at the home, such as checking for overloaded power points, and frayed cables on appliances like toasters and kettles that need to be replaced or repaired," Paul said.
"And if you're thinking of doing any electrical work, please use a licensed electrician."
Now is the perfect time to run through Evoenergy's home electrical safety checklist and ensure there are no electrical hazards.
"Make sure electrical safety checks become part of your regular home maintenance routine," Paul said.
"The 10 minutes you spend doing a home electrical hazard check today could save the life of a loved one."
This is sponsored content for Evoenergy.
- Please note the information contained in this article is general in nature only, and does not account for all circumstances which may arise. Please make your own inquiries before acting on any of the information contained in this article. Evoenergy is not responsible for any loss or damage that arises as a result of anyone's reliance on the information contained in this article.