Safety of Children in Apartments- Common Area Electric Issues

We are inexpressibly saddened by the accident that happened in an Apartment Community recently where a 6 year old boy got electrocuted.

The little one was playing in the common area, the most common sight in the evenings in every gated community. While retrieving a ball he touched a lamp post which apparently was short-circuited.

The loss of the life is irreparable for the parents, we can hardly imagine the state of the mind when such a thing happens in one of the safest places they have chosen to be – a gated community.

However, there are risks of such electrocution in many gated communities. Common Area Lighting, Decoration lights during festivals, all such electricity usages that are kept openly accessible in common area (and hence to children) must be heavily safeguarded and periodically audited.

We must look inward – what is in our control – and ensure not another child or adult falls in such high-risk deathtrap. Here is a picture of the garden lamps in the author’s own community. Very easily accessible by children.

Photo Credit: Paddy

WHAT CAN I CHECK FOR IN MY GATED COMMUNITY

Here are some tips regards to this incident we can come up with. Please share any you may have.

1) In common areas, wall mount lighting instead of mounting them on iron poles.

2) If poles are unavoidable create an insulating barrier around the poll – made of fibre/wood or other insulators.

3) Enforce safety standards for Decorational lighting during community events – most carelessness happens in this area in the rush of festive preparations.

4) Perform a weekly audit of all such electrical equipment out in the open in the common area, check for proper wiring and insulation best practices (e.g., in older communities common area lamp posts do not have switches. Instead, they have wires that have to be connected and disconnected each time – keeping open high risks of a stray strand of wire coming in touch with the pole. )

RESPONSIBILITY OF ALL RESIDENTS

Found a hanging cable or open electric point? Snap a picture on the ADDA app > Helpdesk, do your duty to report.

Each Resident is the eye and ear of the maintenance team. A living community is one of the most complex infrastructures, maintained with constrained resources. A community that takes responsibility to be the ear and eye of the Maintenance Team can mitigate such Safety Risks.

GENERIC TIPS TO AVOID SUCH FUTURE INCIDENTS

Common area electrical installations exposed to the public are considered for review as under

  1. Test ELR ( Earth Leakage Relay) periodically in the electric panel.
  2. Individual light poles erected to be in touch with the ground to enable tripping of ELR
  3. Avoid lose wiring
  4. Tightening screws of the MCB connected to electric poles
  5. Ensure external electrical panels are covered and locked always.
  6. Waterproofing tapes to be used for external wiring connections.
  7. Armored cables are to be used While laying cable in soil/garden
  8. Armour portion of Armoured cable should be in contact with the panel.
  9. Gardeners should be educated about the cables laid in the garden area.
  10. Vegetation growth around the electrical panel and poles should be cleaned.

The above-mentioned pointers are courtesy of Mr. Vinod KC (Brigade Group)

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About the Author: Angshuman

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