Electrical Safety During Disasters

When a storm is headed toward your home it is hard to stop and think about electrical safety; however, it could be the one thing standing in the way of keeping your family safe . By following these electrical safety precautions during disasters, you can help prevent death, injuries, and property damage.

Flooded Areas

  • Be aware that submerged outlets or electrical cords may energize the water, posing a lethal trap.

Wet Electrical Equipment

  • Do not use electrical appliances that have been wet (furnaces, freezers, refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, etc).
  • For electrical appliances that have been submerged underwater, have them reconditioned by a qualified service repairman.

Portable Generators

Make sure to take care with portable electric generators. Although generators can be a good source of power, if they are improperly installed or operated they can become deadly.

  • Make sure the generator is properly grounded.
  • Make sure to keep the generator dry.
  • Plug appliances directly into the generator.
  • Make sure extension cords used with the generator are free of cuts, worn insulation, and have three-pronged plugs.
  • Make sure not to overload the generator.
  • Do not operate the generator in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. Generators can produce high levels of deadly carbon monoxide very quickly.
  • Use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to help prevent electrocutions and electrical shock injuries. Portable GFCIs require no tools to install and are available at prices ranging from $12 to $30.

Downed Power Lines

Chances are that when there is a storm, there will be downed power lines. Even though power lines may be down, they can still carry an electric current strong enough to cause a serious injury or death.

  • If you see a downed power line, move away from the line and anything that may be touching it.
  • If you see someone who is in direct or indirect contact with a downed power line – do not touch the person. Call 911 instead.
  • Do not attempt to move a downed power line or anything in contact with the power line by using another object such as a broom or stick. Even non-conductive materials like wood or cloth, if slightly wet, can conduct electricity and then electrocute you.
  • Be careful not to put your feet near water where a downed power line is located.
  • If you are in your car and it is in contact with the downed power line, stay in your car. Tell others to stay away from your vehicle.
  • Do not drive over downed power lines.

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