How a safety switch will save your life
If the only two types of transformers you can name are deceptacons and autobots, please listen up!
No this article is not about Shia la Beouf or Megan Fox, but it does involve the safety of everyone on this planet.
As 15 Australians are killed and 300 are hospitalised by preventable electrical related incidents in homes and businesses each year, there is a definitive need for safety precautions surrounding anything electrical.
One of the most basic, yet effective tools for electrical safety is the safety switch, or RCD.
A safety switch is the colloquial name given to a Residual Current Device. Essentially, the switch is designed to reduce the risk of an outlet causing an electric shock which could cause considerable damage to both people and property.
Although all you need to know is that safety switches save lives and stop numerous preventable deaths each year, we will explain exactly how these switches operate so you can understand the extent of the problem. Don’t feel bad if you need to read this twice.
Electricity functions through three elements, active neutral and earth. Essentially, the electricity which passes through the active line must return with an equal load through the neutral line. The safety switch monitors the devices neutral and active cores to ensure that it is returning an equal load through the neutral core. As such, when the safety switch notices an imbalance in the amount of electricity on either end of the process, the device will shut down and disconnect all power to its circuit. Although in many instances there is still a high chance of an electric shock, the safety switch is designed to shut off the supply of electricity within 10 to 50 milliseconds, effectively saving your life.
While it is a requirement currently for all new homes and businesses to install safety switches on light and power related items, there are many older homes that are entirely without.
The ABC reports that up to 40 percent of homes in Australia don’t have safety switches installed at all, and those that do are generally only equipped to the power circuits. This leaves the lights, stoves and hot water systems totally unprotected from unexpected and accidental surges, and potential electrocution and death.
As all safety switches are imbedded with the capacity to test themselves, it is highly recommended that this additional safety function is utilized regularly to ensure the product works when its needed. Expect the worst, plan for the best.