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Does Your Home Have an Electrical Safety Switch?

With winter upon us we are once again hearing stories of house fires caused by heaters and other means of keeping warm. Although a safety switch can’t prevent a fire cause by a naked flamed it can prevent electrical fires.

In this regard having a safety switch installed in your home is a bit of a no brainer. However, many homes, particularly older ones, still do not have a safety switch installed and even more surprisingly it is not law in every state of Australia to have a safety switch installed in every home.

The laws vary from state to state with the majority only having regulations relating to the installation of safety switches in new homes. Queensland and Western Australia are the only two states, at present, that have legislation covering the retro fitting of switches in older homes. In Queensland a safety switch must be installed in an older home if the home is sold, by the purchaser within 3 months of the sale. In WA the seller must install two switches (power and lighting) before any sale takes place.

With the possibility of wiring in older homes not always being up to scratch with current regulations, wiring and fittings deteriorating over time or the potential for overloading inadequate circuits by the introduction of more and more modern appliances it is just as important for a safety switch to be installed in all older homes as well as newer ones.

With between 15-20 Australians dying and hundreds of others hospitalised from electrocution within the home every year the relatively inexpensive addition of a safety switch on both lighting and power circuits is an easy way to ensure you or your family members do not become part of the statistics.

A safety switch, also called a residual current device (RCD) can detect any imbalances in the flow of power within your home and cut the supply of electricity quicker than the blink of an eye or a heartbeat, saving you from electrocution.

There are penalties and fines in some states related to not having a safety switched installed if you own your own home and it is mandatory that the landlord install them in any rental property you live in. If you are selling or buying property ensure you know the laws in your state and comply with them.

Installing a safety switch may save your life, however it does not replace the need for regular maintenance of your electrical systems nor does it negate the need to ensure that the circuitry in your home is sufficient to carry the load you are placing on it currently and in the future. If you are renovating always include a review of your electrical needs and systems in any modifications.

Please, if you do not have a safety switch installed in your home contact a registered electrician immediately and make the necessary arrangements to have this done.

For more information on keeping safe in your own home download our free Information Sheets.



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