Many people are not aware of the importance of electrical safety until they experience an electrical emergency. An electrical emergency can be defined as any situation where there is a risk of electrocution, fire or injuries due to electrical failure. If you have experienced electrical failure in your home or you’re concerned about the safety of your electrics, the best choice is always to turn to professionals for help. But what is considered an electrical emergency? We’ve covered some of the most common ones below.

Power Outage

One of the most common electrical emergencies is a power outage. If your power has gone out, it’s important to first check whether it’s just your home or if the outage is affecting your whole neighbourhood. If it’s just your home, the problem could be with your fuse box or circuit breakers. In this case, it’s best to call an electrician so they can take a look and fix the problem. However, if the power outage is affecting your whole neighbourhood, then it’s likely an issue with the power lines, and you should contact your electricity supplier immediately.

What to do

There are some important steps that need to be taken when assessing what to do in an electrical emergency. In saying that, power outages can be common and don’t necessarily mean there is an electrical emergency occurring. Storms, car accidents and maintenance work could mean power is unavailable in your area. Remain calm and avoid touching powerpoints and other sources of electricity until you know the reason for the power outage.

Who to call

If your entire area is affected, we recommend calling your electricity provider to receive an update on the network; electrical distributors in NSW include:

  • Endeavour Energy – (02) 9853 6666
  • Essential Energy – 132 391
  • Ausgrid – 13 13 18

If just your house is affected, call a local electrician such as Finnley Electrical who will be able to assist.

Fire in electrical switchboard

Electrical Fire

Another extremely dangerous electrical emergency is an electrical fire. These fires can be caused by a number of things, such as faulty wiring, overloaded sockets or even something as simple as a faulty appliance. If you suspect that an electrical fire has started, it’s important to act fast and call the fire brigade immediately. Once they arrive, they will be able to put out the fire and assess the damage. If you use a fire extinguisher, it is important to check it is appropriate for the fire being extinguished.

What to do

As is the case with most electrical emergencies, do not touch any powerpoints or sources of electricity from your electrical system and call emergency services.

Who to call

If you notice a fire coming from your electrical system, it’s important to act quickly and call the fire brigade on 000.

Tripped Circuit Breaker

Tripped Circuit Breakers

Electrical emergencies can be caused by tripped circuit breakers when too many appliances are plugged into one circuit and overload it. To fix this problem, you will need to unplug some of the appliances from the overloaded circuit and then reset the breaker by flipping the switch back to the “on” position. If you find that your breaker keeps tripping, then you should call an electrician so they can take a look and fix the problem.

What to do

Do not touch the power supply, powerpoints or sources of electricity and call a licensed electrician.

Who to call

Call an emergency electrician who will be able to determine the cause of the tripped circuit breaker.

Burnt Power Socket

Burnt power sockets

If a power socket emits extreme heat, catches fire, or changes colour to brown or black, that circuit is experiencing difficulties. Immediately unplug all appliances from the socket, then turn off the breaker. Once the breaker has been turned off, do not turn it back on until an electrician has inspected the circuit.

What to do

Avoid direct contact with the burnt outlet, main switch or sources of electricity and call a licensed electrician.

Who to call

Call a licensed electrician who will be able to determine the cause of the burnt power sockets.

Electric Shocks

The danger of electrical shock can be severe and life threatening. It’s possible to come into touch with electricity if outlets aren’t examined, plugs are damaged, or wires are frayed. If you don’t turn off the power to the room, you can give yourself an electric shock while changing a light bulb or doing other small electrical tasks.

If you experience an electric shock, it’s important to act fast and call for help. Once someone has called for medical assistance, try to avoid touching anything metal as this could cause further shocks. If possible, turn off the power at the fuse box or circuit breaker so that there is no risk of electrocution. Once the power has been turned off, you can then start to assess the damage and call an electrician to fix the problem.

What to do

If someone has experienced an electric shock and is unresponsive call 000 immediately and seek medical help.

Who to call

For medical emergencies, call 000 immediately. Once any medical emergencies have been resolved, call an emergency electrician to assess the cause of the shock and plan appropriate remediation.

Risk of overloading powerboards

Appliance Sparks or Smoke

Another common electrical emergency is sparking coming from outlets or appliances. This is often caused by faulty wiring, and it can be very dangerous. If you see sparks or smoke coming from an appliance, it’s important to act fast and unplug the appliance immediately. Once it’s been unplugged, don’t turn it back on or plug it in again until an electrician has had a chance to take a look at it. Faulty appliances are one of the most common electrical problems leading to household fires so should be dealt with as soon as possible.

What to do

If you see sparks coming from any of your outlets or appliances, you should turn off the power at your fuse box or power supply source immediately and then call a qualified electrician to come and take a look.

Who to call

If you find yourself in any of the above situations, the best thing to do is to call a professional electrician for help. They will be able to assess the situation and make sure that everything is safe.

Flickering Lights

If your lights are flickering, it could be a sign of a serious electrical problem. Flickering lights can be caused by loose lightbulbs, bad wiring, or faulty electrical components. If you notice that your lights are flickering, it’s important to investigate the cause so that you can fix the problem before it becomes dangerous. It is much easier to prevent electrical hazards if you react to the warning signs and flickering lights are certainly one of those.

What to do

Flickering lights can be one of the more common electrical issues and doesn’t necessarily mean there is a serious issue. Turn off any lights that are flickering. It can also be beneficial to prevent a short circuit by turning off the light fuse in the switchboard (or main breaker as it might also be known as).

Who to call

If you have concerns that your flickering lights could be a serious problem, call an emergency electrician immediately.

Fallen power lines

Fallen Power Lines

If you see fallen power lines, it’s important to stay well away from them as they are live and can be very dangerous. A downed power line can occur after a storm or period of heavy wind. With storm activity, there is the possibility the previously overhead power lines may now be sitting in pools of water which can be incredibly dangerous. If the fallen power line is on a car, then you should warn the occupants of the car to stay inside and not try to get out. Once you have warned them, you should call the emergency services so they can deal with the situation.

What to do

If you see a power line that has fallen, you should stay well away from it and call the emergency services immediately.

Who to call

If you see a power line that has fallen, you should call the emergency services immediately.


If you find yourself in an electrical emergency, it’s important to stay calm and act quickly. The first step is to assess whether the problem is with your own home’s electrics or if it’s affecting your whole neighbourhood. With all electrical emergencies, it’s best to err on the side of caution and call a professional rather than try to fix the problem yourself as this could be very dangerous.

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