As South Africans struggle to deal with the constant threat of load shedding, many are turning to alternative sources of power, such as candles and generators, to provide them with a sense of security in their homes. However, these sources of power also carry risks that need to be carefully considered.
Candles may seem like a simple solution, but they can be a serious risk to your safety if they’re not handled correctly. Here are some key precautions to keep in mind:
- Use a suitable holder for thin candles to prevent them from falling over or spilling hot wax.
- Thick candles can usually stand on their own, but it’s still best to place them on a plate or other non-flammable object.
- Never leave a candle unattended on a combustible surface, as it could burn out and start a fire.
- Remember that thin candles burn out much faster than thicker ones, so keep an eye on them.
- Always keep matches or a lighter stored in a safe place out of the reach of children.
- Before discarding a used match, make sure it’s properly extinguished to avoid burns or igniting flammable items.
- Candle wax burns at an extremely high temperature, which can cause serious injuries if it comes into contact with skin.
Generators may seem like a more reliable solution, but they also come with their own risks:
- Generators run on flammable fuels and can generate carbon monoxide and noise.
- Make sure to operate generators in well-ventilated areas to avoid inhalation of toxic fumes, which can cause unconsciousness or even death.
- Pull-start generators can cause physical strain or injuries during an attempt to start.
- Generators don’t have earth leakage protection like that installed on the electrical distribution panel in buildings, which increases the risk of electrocution or fatal shocks.
- Always make sure your generator is safely earthed before use.
- Be sure to use an earth leakage protection device fitted extension box for your generator, and connect all extension leads to this box rather than directly to the generator to avoid short circuits.
- Generators have a maximum capacity, so make sure that the wattage demand of all appliances you plan to use doesn’t exceed the generator’s capacity. To calculate the required capacity or size of the generator, add the Watts marked on all electrical appliances and lights that you would require to run off generator power.
While alternative power sources such as candles and generators may provide temporary relief during load shedding, it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with them. South Africans should continue to use caution and seek expert advice when necessary to ensure their safety and the safety of those around them.