Common Electrical Emergencies

Common Electrical Emergencies & What To Do

Are you facing an electrical emergency in your home, but not sure what to do? There is no need to panic as this article will provide you with a comprehensive guide on common electrical emergencies and how to tackle them safely. You will gain the knowledge and confidence needed to handle any emergency with ease.

Electrical Shock

Electric shock can be dangerous and even life-threatening. It is important to react quickly and stay calm if you come in contact with a live electrical current. The most common symptoms of electrical shock include feeling a tingling sensation, partial or full loss of consciousness, muscle contractions, difficulty breathing or difficulty speaking.

Immediately move away from the area where you were shocked and seek medical help right away. Do not touch any other objects that may be electrically charged and do not attempt to move a person who has been shocked, because they may become re-electrocuted. Shut off the power at the breaker box and then call an electrician or contact your local fire department for assistance.

Power Outage

A power outage, or an electrical outage, is the loss of electric power in an area or a predetermined area where the electric power system cannot deliver electricity to consumers. Power outages are typically caused by accidents such as storms, car accidents, and other events that result in damage to existing infrastructure or object contacting high voltage lines.

When a power outage occurs, it is important to stay safe and follow some basic safety steps:

  • Move immediately away from any objects that may conduct electricity (such as electrical appliances).
  • Do not touch any objects that may have been electrically charged.
  • Do not touch light switches or appliances until you are certain the power is off.
  • Turn off any appliances that contain motorized parts (e.g., refrigerators).
  • Check for downed wires outside before proceeding.
  • Wait for instructions from your utility company and local authorities before attempting any major repairs.

Electrical Fires

Electrical fires can occur when electrical circuits or equipment fail, producing heat and sparking a flame. Electrical failure in high voltage equipment such as transformers and circuits also needs to be addressed quickly to prevent additional damage to property and injury. Common causes of electrical fires include overloaded circuits, damaged wiring or short-circuiting caused by faulty appliances.

It is important to remember the following steps in the event of an electrical fire:

  1. Safety comes first – ensure that the area is safe for people and animals before doing anything else.
  2. The source of power must be shut off – this shut-off can be done at the house’s main circuit breaker or fuse box, or at the appliance manufacturer’s reset button if applicable. If this cannot be done immediately, use a nonflammable item like a wet towel or blanket to separate you from the fire until it can be extinguished. Do not attempt to extinguish an electrical fire with water – seek professional help immediately and evacuate the area if possible.
  3. Use an appropriate type of fire extinguisher – dry chemical class ABC extinguishers are effective against electrical fires but standard water fire extinguishers cannot be used on them as they will cause further damage/injury due to their conductivity with electricity.
  4. Contact local emergency services – report any damages/injuries caused by the fire, they will have access to specialists that can assess any risks associated with any remaining sources of power, such as high voltage energized components still present within appliances/electrical mains systems that could prove hazardous until de-energised correctly by a competent person trained in these types of tasks for example an electrician who specializes in utility work may need to carry out assessment and disconnection works for your particular situation/emergency event before anyone is permitted entry into what may now become a hazardous zone again due to potentially dangerous energized systems remaining active inside common household appliances etc so please ensure that all safety measures are followed!

Circuit Overload

A circuit overload occurs when the wiring in your home or office is not properly insulated, allowing too much electricity to pass through it. This can cause a dangerous fire hazard and potential electric shock if someone touches it.

To avoid this scenario, check your electrical panel periodically for tripped circuits, as these typically indicate an overload. If this happens, turn off the power at the electrical panel to prevent further damage and always call a certified electrician to safely and correctly diagnose and fix the issue.

Electrical overloads should never be taken lightly; they often mean that your wiring system is outdated and not providing adequate protection against any potential dangers.

Broken Electrical Wires

Broken electrical wires are one of the most common electrical emergencies, and can be extremely dangerous. If you have exposed or damaged wiring in your home, it is essential that you call a local electrician as soon as possible. Proper diagnostics and repairs take specialized equipment and knowledge, so it is best not to attempt repairs on your own.

When calling out an electrician, let them know what has happened, the type of wiring involved – whether it be AC (alternating current) or DC (direct current), the power draw in amps or watts, and if possible, where the wires are coming from or going to. A qualified electrician should then be able to assess the damage safely and make any necessary recommendations for fixing the issue.

It is important to keep in mind that sometimes broken wires do not always cause visual cues such as sparks or smoke; faulty insulation is also a risk factor for electrical fires. It’s best to err on the side of caution when dealing with damaged wiring; contact your local electrician if there’s even the smallest suspicion of an issue before making any attempts at repair yourself.

Tripped Circuit Breakers

A tripped circuit breaker occurs when the electrical current going through a circuit exceeds what the breaker is rated for, and as a result, the breaker trips or shuts off. This usually happens when an appliance in the house – such as a toaster, air conditioner, or some other large electrical device – draws more power than it should, and it overloads the circuit. Knowing what to do if this happens helps prevent any further damage or injury.

The first thing that must be done is to unplug any appliances that were connected to the affected circuit. These appliances may include lights, TVs and heating equipment. Once they are unplugged, check all of their electrical cords for signs of wear and tear or melting plastic; these indicate that there may be a shorted wire somewhere in another part of the house.

Next, locate your main panel box and reset the breaker switch associated with that particular circuit. If this does not work, then shut off all power at the main panel box before calling an electrician for assistance. The electrician may need to replace faulty wiring or outlets in order to permanently resolve the issue. Make sure you identify any appliances connected to the circuit so that they can be tested after repairs are complete.

Electrical Smells

If you smell burning coming from an electrical outlet or appliance, it’s important to act quickly and safely. Burning wiring or a wire melting the plastic insulation around it can be extremely dangerous. It typically indicates that a circuit is overloaded and not functioning properly.

If you smell an odor similar to burnt toast or plastic, turn off the breaker supplying the affected circuit and stop using the outlet or appliance immediately. It is not recommended that you attempt any DIY repairs in this situation, as tampering with electrical components can make the problem worse or cause injury. Contact a qualified electrician for repair work or advice on how to proceed.

Flickering Lights

If you notice any of your lights flickering or dimming, turn off the power at the service panel and contact a certified electrician. Flickering lights indicate a loose wiring connection and can be caused by several factors including age, poor installation or mechanical damage. In some cases, it could even point to a much bigger electrical problem.

A certified electrician can help determine the source of the flicker, repair any existing damage and make sure there isn’t any potential danger to your home. To ensure safe operation of your electrical system moving forward, they will also:

  • Check all connections
  • Inspect the wiring for any signs of wear and tear.

Damaged Power Cords

Whether due to wear or accidental damage, it’s important to be prepared for when a power cord is damaged. If the electrical power cord of an appliance is frayed, broken, cut or any other kind of damage occurs, immediately unplug the appliance from the wall outlet. Once unplugged, don’t use the item until it has been replaced with a new cord. Do not attempt to repair or modify a damaged power cord yourself; always have a professional electrician do this work.

If you notice any electrical sparks when plugging in something in an outlet, that could be an indication that there’s a problem with wiring within the walls. Turn off the circuit breaker supplying electricity to that room and call a professional electrical service company right away. Similarly, if you see lightning or hear thunder while using an appliance don’t panic; simply turn off any electrical appliances in use and avoid touching them until after the storm has passed as they can conduct electricity if lightning strikes near your house.

Power Surge

A power surge is a buildup of electrical energy which can cause an unexpected increase in voltage. A single power surge typically occurs for just nanoseconds, but each surge can have a damaging effect on electrical and electronic components. Most power surges occur during storms or when large appliances such as air conditioning units are turned on or off. If your home’s wiring is not up to code, it could result in even more frequent surges.

If your home experiences a sudden power surge, the first thing you should do is turn off all electronic devices or unplug them from their sockets. This will protect them from further damage which could be caused by the excessive power flow. If possible, switch off the circuit breaker for that particular area of your house to prevent any further electricity flow until the problem has been resolved by an electrician or other qualified professional. Additionally, check all circuit breakers and fuses to check if they have been tripped due to an overloaded circuit or faulty appliance that may be causing the power spike.

Finally, if you experience multiple surges that are happening more frequently than normal you should contact an electrician immediately who can professionally diagnose and solve any wiring issues in your home before permanent damage is done.


It’s important to remember that DIY electrical emergency repairs are unwise and often dangerous. If you suspect a wiring issue in your home, contact a qualified electrician immediately. Many emergency electrical problems can be frustrating, but the risks involved with doing your own repairs make the decision to stay safe the smartest one.

Never try to fix any electrical problem yourself – stay safe and protect your pocketbook by only hiring a licensed electrician for emergency repairs.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What should I do in case of an electrical fire?

It’s important to act quickly in case of an electrical fire. Ensure everyone is safe and call the fire department immediately. Do not attempt to put out the fire with water, as this can cause electrocution. Turn off the electricity to the affected area if possible, and evacuate the building as soon as possible.

2. What should I do if I experience a power outage?

If you experience a power outage, first check to see if your neighbors are also experiencing the same problem. If so, it may be a problem with the local power grid, which means the electricity provider should be alerted. Alternatively, if the outage is only affecting your property, check the breaker box to see if there is a tripped breaker or blown fuse. If you’re not sure what to do, contact an electrician for assistance.

3. What should I do in case of an electrical shock?

If you or someone else has experienced an electrical shock, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. Even if the shock seems minor, it’s best to have it checked out by a medical professional. In the meantime, ensure that the power source has been turned off and move the person away from the area to prevent further injury.

4. What should I do if I see frayed wires or damaged electrical cords?

If you see frayed wires or damaged electrical cords, avoid touching them and turn off the power supply to the affected area. Do not attempt to repair the cords or wires yourself, as this can be dangerous. Contact a professional electrician to inspect the damage and make any necessary repairs.

5. What should I do if I smell burning or see smoke coming from an appliance or outlet?

If you smell burning or see smoke coming from an appliance or outlet, turn off the power supply to the affected area and unplug the appliance or device immediately. Do not attempt to investigate the cause of the burning or smoke, as this can be dangerous. Call an electrician to inspect the problem and make any necessary repairs.

6. Are there any precautions I can take to prevent electrical emergencies?

Yes, there are several precautions you can take to prevent electrical emergencies. These include avoiding overloading outlets, not using appliances or electronics near water, regularly inspecting electrical cords and plugs for damage, and making sure your home’s electrical system is up to code. It’s also important to only use certified and licensed electricians for any repairs or installations.