Hurricane Delta has come and gone, but South Louisiana isn’t out of the woods just yet; we still have some hurricane season left to go. As with most natural disasters, the hazards don’t go away after the storm hits.
But you can protect your family by following these tips to staying safe from electrical hazards before, during and after a hurricane.
Electrical Safety Before the Hurricane
Because extended power outages are likely, many residents will either install a generator to power their home or will purchase a small portable generator to power essential appliances when it does.
Improperly installed generators have been known to “back feed” along power lines and electrocute local utility crews working to restore power.
Electrical Safety During the Hurricane
During the hurricane and storms, stay inside to avoid coming into contact with power lines and lightning. If you are stuck outside, move to a low point, and avoid metal items.
Don’t forget about your pets during thunderstorms. Dog houses are not safe from lightning; Chained animals can quickly become victims of lightning strikes. Instead, bring your pets inside with you.
Electrical Safety After the Hurricane
Avoid Electrical Shocks
After the severe weather is gone, electrical hazards are still present. The best way to stay safe and avoid electrical shocks is to beware of dangers associated with downed power lines, electrical wiring, and wet electrical appliances.
Use care when walking through flooded areas where standing water is present. Submerged outlets, electrical wiring or appliances that have been wet, and downed power lines can cause water to become energized, creating a lethal situation.
Please stay away from downed power lines and anything that may be touching them. Do not drive over downed power lines, either.
If you see someone that has come into contact with a downed power line, do not touch them. Immediately call 911.
Generator Safety Tips
Although portable generators are great at powering a refrigerator or providing lighting after the storm (and powering a portable air conditioner), they have inherent risks.
The good news is that If you do have to operate a portable generator, you can do so safely by following the following tips:
- Make sure to keep the generator dry.
- Do not operate generators in enclosed or partially-enclosed areas as generators produce deadly carbon monoxide.
- Avoid fire hazards by keeping the area around your generator free from any combustibles.
- Do not refuel generators while they are hot.
- Do not run generators (or any heat/flame producing equipment) if you smell gas.
- Do not overload a generator. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
- Use a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) to help prevent electrocutions.
- Do not use any electrical wiring or equipment that has become wet. Contact a qualified electrician to inspect your electrical systems before you even think about flipping the first circuit breaker.
By practicing these simple tips about electrical safety during and after a hurricane, you can keep you and your family safe.
If you have any questions or anything to add to these tips, drop them in the comments, or shoot us an email. We’d love to hear from you.