Spring storms can be frightening, with lightning, high winds, heavy rains and tornadoes all possible. But after the storm clears, we often (incorrectly) assume it is safe to go back to normal. It’s wise to recognize that just because the storm passes, there may still be danger. Destruction left behind from severe storms can mean downed power lines and trees, cause flooding and generate other electrical safety hazards.
Immediately following a storm, follow these safety tips to keep you and your family safe:
- Stay away from all damaged or downed power lines, and any object that may be in contact with them, as the lines may be live. Instruct others to do the same. Call 911 to inform your local utility of damaged lines. This is true of lines at your home, in your neighborhood, or when you are driving. If you come in contact with a downed power line while driving, stay in your vehicle and wait for a utility to make sure the line is de-energized before exiting the vehicle.
- Listen to your weather radio. Tune in to a local radio station or check the weather app on your phone for up-to-date information and instructions.
- Never enter a flooded basement if electrical outlets, cords or appliances are under water. The water could be energized by electricity.
- Do not turn off power if you have to stand in water to do so. Call your utility and have them turn off your electricity at the meter.
- Before entering storm-damaged buildings, make sure the gas and electricity are turned off.
- If you detect the smell of gas or suspect a leak, leave the house immediately. Call 911 and your utility to alert them of the issue. Do not light an open flame or flip any switches in the house.
- If at all possible, stay at home and off the roadways to allow emergency personnel and utility crews to tend to the injured and damaged areas.
- Never drive through a flooded roadway. There is no way of knowing how deep the water is. A good rule to follow is turn around, don’t drown.
- When cleaning up storm damage outdoors, do not use electrical tools if the ground is wet. Also, do not use electrical equipment that has been damaged by water. Have your water-damaged items inspected and approved by a professional before using them.
Source: Safe Electricity