Storms can pose severe electrical safety hazards, especially during heavy rains and floods. Since electricity flows through impure water, you need to be extra cautious inside and outside of your home to avoid personal injury.
What to Do When It Floods
If flooding occurs in your home, you may be tempted to enter the standing water in order to gather valuables and prevent further damage. However, exposed electrical currents from outlets or cords can transfer electrical energy to the water and your body. If you are unsure whether outlets and cords are submerged in water, it is best to avoid flooded areas and receive advice from an electrical safety professional. Also, if flooding occurs outside of your home, be mindful of power lines and electrical outlets before stepping into standing water.
How to Handle Appliances and Other Electrical Equipment
Do not attempt to turn on any electrical equipment that is or was submerged in any amount of water. Wet equipment could short the circuitry within the appliance or device and can even short the corresponding electrical circuit in your home. Wet electrical equipment also poses severe electrical safety hazards, even if the equipment appears to be dry.
Where to Operate a Portable Backup Generator
Portable generators are useful when the electricity in your home fails after a storm. However, you must take certain precautions to ensure you do not create additional electrical risks. For example, never connect a generator to your home’s electrical outlets, and operate your portable generator at least 15 feet away from your home. Also, never operate a generator inside your home, even if you ventilate the area. Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of generator operation and can cause severe injury and death. Always install a carbon monoxide detector inside your home as a precaution.
If you are unsure what to do during or after a severe storm, call an electrical safety professional before taking any action. Learn from the experience so you can better prepare yourself during the next major wet weather event.