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Important safety precautions on electrical installation 

As Rwanda’s economic development is growing, so does the electrical network expansion to both urban and rural areas for universal access. As of today, more than 68.2% of households have access to electricity, and most of them are connected to the national grid. 

Although electricity helps us in our daily lives, it is important to use it cautiously, as when misused it can lead to serious accidents including fire, damage to our home and equipment, injuries and even death.

It is very important to check whether all materials used in internal house installation including wiring, lights, sockets and plugs, and many others are up with standards and are installed by a skilled technician. When using electricity, it is very important to use high-quality appliances so that they do not heat up when plugged in.

When installing your house

There are plenty materials used for internal house electrical installation. These materials are available in different hardware stores. Household electrical appliances are plentiful and widely available in construction materials stores. When buying wires or other accessories, you need to make sure that they are up to the standards. 

Most of the incidents related to electricity, which have at times led to fatalities and property loss, have largely been attributed to poor or substandard house electrical installations. 

Some people just get cables and install electricity in the houses just because they have seen it being done somewhere else and once lights are on, they think everything is okay. Such incidents can be traced to the work of incompetent and unqualified electrical engineers. 

Any electrical installation activity in premises, whether residential or commercial, must be done by qualified technicians. Licensed electricians have the skills and knowledge needed to keep your home safe and in compliance with electrical codes. The Rwanda Utility and Regulatory Authority (RURA) regularly published the list of licensed electrical engineers qualified to do electrical installation at different levels depending on their expertise. 

If your building is already installed, you should regularly for any damage of cables, lights and other accessories and repair them before immediately.

Electricity in our homes
You should always check that your appliances are functioning well and have no damage. Be it an electrical iron, a cooking stove, a TV or radio set, a fridge or any other appliance. It damaged, unplug it and get it repaired or replace it to prevent any hazardous incident. 

Another simple safety tip but which is easy to forget is to always unplug all appliances that are not in use.  This does not only save power, but it also protects these appliances from overheating or power surges. There is no need to keep your iron plugged in when not in use, or leaving your charger plugged in even when you’re not at home. It is important to always remember to unplug what you’re not using.  

Watch out for overloaded outlets to protect your home. Overloading an electrical outlet is a common cause of electrical problems. Check all outlets to ensure they are cool to the touch, have protective faceplates and are in proper working order. 

The moment the new baby born arrives at home, start thinking about her/his safety with electricity in your house. Make sure that all electrical outlets are secured, before your child starts crawling and investigating every single thing of his reach in the house. Babies and young children should not stay alone in the house without an adult who can prevent them from playing with electrical installations. 

For grown-ups, the following are key tips to ensure safety at home: 

  • Never touch electrical appliances or switches with wet hands or if you're touching a metal object 
  • Keep electric heaters (iron, coffee maker, cooker) on level surfaces and far from furniture, curtains and drapes.
  • Avoid drying your clothes on electric wires 
  • Before replacing a dead lamp, make sure that it is switched off 
  • When cooking on an electric stove, don’t go far, keep watching it closely. 
  • Know where the fuse box is located in case of an emergency. Label all circuit breakers clearly. Each switch should be positively identified as to which outlet or appliance it is for.

Did you know what happens when someone gets electrocuted?  

The exact effect is dependent upon a large number of things including the size of the voltage, which parts of the body are involved, how damp the person is, and the length of time the current flows. 

People who receive an electric shock often get painful muscle spasms that can be strong enough to break bones or dislocate joints. This loss of muscle control often means the person cannot 'let go' or escape the electric shock. The person may fall if they are working at height or be thrown into nearby machinery and structures.

In case you see someone electrocuted, you should avoid touching him with bare hands. Immediately check the fuse box and switch off the power and/or call REG toll free number 2727 or the Police Fire and rescue brigade on 111.

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