We have become a nation of DIYers and now that we have had a deep economic recession it is likely that a lot more people will take on improvements and repairs that once upon a time they would never have dreamt of doing. Whilst this is in many ways a good thing and there are very few activities more satisfying than finishing off a job well done there are some projects which are suitable for the amateur; and some that are not. Accidents in the home fall into two categories; there are those like tripping over loose carpets, scaldings with hot water, slipping on the stairs, falling over toys that the children have left out, etc; these can cause injuries but rarely death. The second category covers accidents caused by people working with either electricity or gas, when they are not trained to do so; and these can cause death and great destruction if the worst comes to the worst. The moral to this is; unless you are very confident in your competency, do not touch mains electricity supplies; bring in an expert!
Leaving that caveat to one side, one of the biggest changes in our homes over the last 50 years has been our growing reliance upon electrical devices. When electricity first began to replace gas for lighting homes around 60 or so years ago it was usual for the average house to have one single power point; rooms now can have dozens of them as we have installed our lighting effects, audio systems, televisions, radios, and computer systems along with all their peripherals. We now have to buy more cabling, switches and plug sockets and enterprising manufacturers have recognized that not only do we want them to work properly but we like them to look good too, so switches and sockets now come in a variety of different colours and even metallic effects, so that they can blend in with the decor scheme of every home. Along with improvements in visual design there have been numerous safety improvements as well, not only through such sensible measures as creating double sockets as well as single ones, fitting switches to the sockets, improved earth pin shutters and better resistance to heat and impact, but also by Designing the accessories to make them easier to fit safely, and more difficult to fit wrongly. All the same, however, it has to be borne in mind that the electrical system in every home is only designed to carry a certain amperage so professional help should always be sought before installing a large number of accessories.