The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) warns consumers to be aware of electrical dangers associated with severe storms and the resulting floods and power outages. Deaths and injuries during the summer months are frequently caused by post-storm electrical hazards.
The high winds, extreme rains and flooding caused by hurricanes and tornadoes present many unique dangers. ESFI offers consumers important advice about how to help prevent electrically-related deaths, injuries and property loss by taking a few precautions during and after severe storms and other natural disasters.
Flooding can occur anywhere, but water and electricity don’t mix. Because electrical hazards may linger after flood waters recede, it’s important to take precautions before, during, and after flooding takes place.
Before use, learn about the potential dangers associated with portable generators, such as their production of carbon monoxide (CO). CO is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless poisonous gas that is called the “silent killer” because it is virtually undetectable without the use of technology like CO alarms. Follow these tips to generate power AND safety when using a generator
Transfer switches isolate utility power and generator power to prevent backfeeding, which can be deadly. Backfeed can follow wires and harm those nearby, including utility workers making repairs. Transfer switches also protect the home from electrical fires caused by short circuits and improper connections. Transfer switches should only be installed by a qualified electrician.
The Atlantic hurricane season is June to November, with the peak season from mid-August to late October. On average there are 6 hurricanes, three which are categorized as “major,” each year. History provides important examples of the potentially dangerous impact hurricanes can have and the need to be prepared.
ESFI offers these safety tips to help you:
|Unplug your appliances and power cords from outlets to protect them from power surges||
Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass
|If flood waters reached the level of electrical outlets, contact a licensed electrician before attempting to use electricity in the home|
|If you plan to use a portable generator, ESFI recommends a licensed electrician install it to ensure it will operate safely||Use flashlights as a source of light. Candles are a fire hazard||Prior to use, have a qualified service repair dealer determine what electrical equipment should be replaced and what can be reconditioned|
|Test your home’s carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms to ensure they’re functioning||Never operate a generator inside your home or in other enclosed or partially enclosed spaces, including garage||Never touch a fallen power line or drive through standing water if a downed power line is nearby. Report downed power lines to local authorities|
|Use a battery operated radio to stay informed about important safety update|
In the first quarter of 2017 alone, thunderstorms caused a record $5.7 billion in losses, and lightning kills and average of 30 people a year. Learn how to keep you, your family, and property safe from lightning.
Downed power lines can be deadly. ALWAYS assume a downed power line is live and avoid going near it or anything in contact with it.
To be prepared for a tornado, it is critical to be familiar with tornado warning signs. Although tornadoes vary greatly in their appearance and provide little or no warning, the following signs can indicate that a tornado could be imminent.
Just as you don’t always know when a disaster will strike, you won’t know where you will be when a disaster will strike. Follow these safety tips which include:
With the severe weather characteristic of winter comes the threat of electrical hazards caused by downed power lines, power outages, and coastal flooding.
ESFI is cautioning the public that electrical dangers associated with downed power lines, portable generators, and submerged electrical equipment can still cause injuries and deaths once a snow or ice storm has ended. Further, danger can also arise from the use of supplemental heating sources such as space heaters.
ESFI recommends taking the following electrical safety precautions during winter storms: