Electrical Safety Important When Disaster Strikes

Serious injury can result for anyone dealing with a major storm, tornado or other disaster and its aftermath unless they are cautious. Electrical safety is extremely important in these situations, especially in the event of heavy rains and flooding.

The following electrical safety tips should always be observed. If disaster should strike, your electric cooperative will be actively involved in restoring power and helping members get through the disaster.

During the flood

  • Store drinking water in clean bathtubs and in various containers in case water service is interrupted or contaminated.
  • Turn off all utilities at the main power switch. Do not touch any flooded electrical equipment.
  • Beware of outdoor hazards. Watch out for loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to proper authorities. It is not unusual that more people are killed by carelessness in the aftermath than were killed by the event itself.
  • It is recommended that water heaters be secured to studs with 2-inch metal straps and lag screws with oversized washers to prevent them from falling over and rupturing gas lines or causing electrical shorts.

After the flood

  • Be sure all electric and gas services are turned off before entering buildings for the first time after a disaster. Before going back into your home, make sure it is safe and the structure is sound. Animals and snakes may have invaded living areas.
  • Remove covers from all outlets and fuses or multibreaker boxes to inspect and let dry.
  • Before restoring electrical power, have an electrician check out appliances and wiring for shorts or damage.  
  • Electric motors in appliances that have been flooded should be thoroughly cleaned and reconditioned before they are put back into service.
  • Do not use an open flame indoors. Gas could be trapped inside the home if pilot lights were snuffed out. Use battery-powered flashlights during inspections.
  • Don’t use fresh food that may have come in contact with floodwater.
  • Boil drinking water before using. Wells should be pumped out and the water tested for purity before drinking.
  • Do not visit disaster areas. You could hamper emergency operations or cause wake damage to property.

Flood Insurance

Flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Information about insurance is available through your local insurance agent. Note: Flood insurance is not covered by normal homeowner’s insurance.

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