Avoid exposed wires, cables in wet weather

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Pretoria - South Africans are urged to practice extreme caution and avoid any contact with electric wires and cables that are exposed during heavy rains.

“Electrical equipment exposed to water can be extremely dangerous. It’s crucial that people are on the lookout for damaged and exposed cables inside and outside their homes.

“Electricity travels through water and the threat of electrocution increases with strong winds and heavy rains as power cables may become damaged and poles may fall over, putting the public at greater risk than normal,” said Jace Naidoo, Corporate Occupational Health and Safety Senior Manager at Eskom.

Families returning home to flood-damaged areas are urged to stay well clear of any overhead power cables that are damaged or hanging low as a result of stormy weather or illegal connections.

They should also not attempt to remove any fallen trees or broken branches near a power line, but should instead call Eskom or their municipality for assistance.

During storms and windy conditions, electricity poles can fall over, causing live electrical wires to lie on the ground or otherwise hang low enough for people to touch.

Motor vehicles also sometimes collide with electricity poles, causing wires to hang low, and thereby increasing the risk of people being electrocuted. 

Illegal connections are also extremely dangerous as they are not installed according to acceptable standards and the material used is often substandard.

Wires in the home that have made contact with water must be tested by a qualified electrician – this includes main switches and circuit breakers. Most indoor electrical equipment can be damaged through contact with water.

“Do not assume any part of your home to be safe until it is tested. Cables that are exposed to water or excessive moisture can become damaged and electrical equipment in your home that has been covered in water may have to be replaced,” said Naidoo

Members of the public can report exposed, damaged or low-hanging power cables to Eskom at 0860 37566. – SAnews.gov.za