Use electricity wisely, for your own safety!
If you’re getting ready to play cricket or badminton or football after Taraweeh with your friends and are using a kunda to light up the street – don’t. You might not think it is dangerous but it can be life-threatening. The perception engraved in our thoughts that electricity theft is our birthright is completely wrong and is need to be corrected.
If you see a wire hanging from a pole what will you do? Walk around it, avoid touching the pole and the live wires dangling from it.
Your first instinct should be to protect yourself.
In Pakistan, where the infrastructure fails us every day it is imperative to pay attention to our surroundings. In the monsoon season, as soon as a few droplets of rain hit the ground, the roads start to flood, and it will inevitably lead to a traffic jam, overflowing of sewerage water, and other problems for the commuters and other people in the surroundings.
Another common problem is the loose and jumbled up wires encroached on electricity and streetlight poles. The problem of broken wires is, unfortunately, prevailing in most parts of the country. One cause of the spread of these illegals wires is that more and more people are now using the internet and cable TV services in their homes. With the rise in demand, the number of companies providing these services also increasing. As Pakistan is devoid of laws for the internet and DTH sector, Internet Service Providers take advantage of this lacuna and encroach the electricity poles to provide their services. As cable and internet wires tend to break during the spell of rain and gusty winds, the hazard they cause multiplies manifold and can become a major cause of electrocution.
In the same way, when you’re at home it is best to unplug all electronic appliances when it is raining. The reason behind this is voltage fluctuation and load shedding. Extremely high or low voltage can damage appliances.
While taking all these precautions, it is imperative to remember to use your appliances safely. Remember to unplug small kitchen and household appliances when they aren't in use – in case there is a voltage surge the appliances could turn on or cause a short circuit. Try not to use extension cords with high-wattage appliances, like ACs, electric heaters, and irons. Don’t use a damaged or frayed cord.
It goes without saying that you should never touch an electric appliance while standing on a wet floor or if your hands are wet. Additionally, do not operate electrical appliances in or near water.
Besides taking safety measures, it is imperative to learn how to save and conserve energy at home – it is all about becoming more energy-efficient and saving money. Small changes in your daily life can go a long way. A simple way to do this would be to remember to turn off the lights when you leave a room or use energy-saving light bulbs that last longer than traditional ones or switch off appliances instead of leaving them on standby. If you want to take it a step further then don’t overuse your washing machine: doing laundry once a week should be enough to tide you over. When you’re using a washing machine, a lot of electricity (90%) goes into heating water. It might be better to do a cold wash instead. The same applies to appliances like an electric oven, geezer, electric kettle, and heater.
Globally countries have specially assigned organizations that carry out home safety inspections. Experts recommend that when a home is 40 years old or when carrying out a major renovation on the premises, it is highly imperative to carry home safety inspection. Unfortunately, we have no concept of any such inspections in Pakistan. Furthermore, authorities who are assigned the task to check illegal construction fails to fulfill their responsibility and this failure lead to the vertical extension of houses and building which come in close proximity to the power structure. Cities like Karachi, Lahore, Hyderabad, Gujranwala, and others have witnessed numerous electrocution because of this negligence but unfortunately, the violation is continuing unabated.
It is high time now that we as a nation learn our responsibility. Parents, academicians, area elders, religious personalities, media, and government institutions all work cohesively to inculcate the importance of safety among the masses to promote the mantra of ‘ Better Safe than Sorry’ in our society.
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