70% of UAE residents at risk of electrical fires

A survey on electrical safety has shown that almost 70% of UAE residents are at risk of electrical fires in the home.

A survey on electrical safety has shown that almost 70% of UAE residents are at risk of electrical fires in the home.

The survey undertaken by lightning protection and earthing systems specialist Duval Messian found that nearly 70% of residents surveyed have experienced signs of electrical faults such as burnt sockets and electrical shocks from appliances.

Less than 30% of those surveyed had sought certified professional help, either ignoring the problem or attempting to self-fix. Less than 20% of interviewees considered the earthing systems as a possible cause.

A total of 46% of the respondents reported burnt sockets and unexplained tripping of the main circuit breaker (MCB). These are among the most common signs of an electrical problem. Duval Messien technical director Sonjib Banerjee stated: "[This finding is] disconcertingly high, meaning many are at-risk and simply do not know it or perhaps don't know how to fix it."

Burnt sockets suggest that the surge of electricity from the socket and that needed by the appliance do not match. When this happens, an electrical surcharge is released that must be safely distracted through the earthing circuit to prevent electrocution, fire or other damage.

When this does not happen, or when it happens inadequately, the socket fuses and the socket cover and/or the plug burn.

When the main circuit board trips, it indicates that an excessive electrical surcharge has been detected and a safety fuse has helped shut down the electrical supply to the household to prevent any further damage.

According to the survey, 16% of the respondents regularly face the problem of unexplained tripping of MCBs.

"Burnt sockets are very dangerous but appear to be very common in the UAE. Buying good quality products is not sufficient - the electrical set up in the building is also the key to preventing fires.

Earthing is a critical part of the electrical network in any building and must be maintained adequately for safety reasons," said Banerjee.

While the majority of those surveyed understood the importance of earthing to prevent electrical fires, 70% said the earthing in their homes or offices had either never been checked or they were not aware of when checks took place.

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