Notice: Please see the information at Safe Electricity for safety measures to keep in mind during a flood.
www.safeelectricity.org is a program of the Energy Education Council. The EEC is committed to the education and empowerment of energy consumers, with the goal of enhancing lives by promoting the efficient and safe use of energy.
Safe Electricity say that, during a flood, should electrical equipment come into to contact with flood water there is a serious danger of electrocution. After the event, during the clean-up process when the flood waters have dispersed, there are yet further risks, as there are serious possibilities of electrocution from water damaged appliances.
People often overlook the possibility of an electrical accident during or after a flood. It is understandable that sufferers of flooding will often have their minds on other issues. But Safe Electricity believe electricity is the first thing you should consider when entering a flooded home or property.
The Safe Electricity website gives a list of 5 measures to bear in mind when it comes to electricity and flooding:
- Never step into a flooded basement or other room if water may be in contact with electrical outlets, appliances or cords.
- Never attempt to turn off power at the breaker box if you must stand in water to do so. If you can’t reach your breaker box safely, call your electric utility to shut off power at the meter.
- Never use electric appliances or touch electric wires, switches or fuses when you’re wet or when you’re standing in water.
- Keep electric tools and equipment at least 10 feet away from wet surfaces. Do not use electric yard tools if it’s raining or the ground is wet.
- If an electrical appliance has been in contact with water, have a professional check it out before it is used. It may need to be repaired or replaced.
Also be aware that even if your power company has turned the electricity off, it is advisable to turn it off at the fuse or breaker box in your home also, just in case power was to be re-instated by the power company without your knowledge. But as stated above, never attempt to turn off power at the breaker box if you must stand in water to do so. If you can’t reach your breaker box safely, call your electric utility to shut off power at the meter.
What can you do to prepare?
Many of us live under the threat of flooding on a regular basis. For those of us who want to be prepared and make plans to lessen the affect of flooding in our homes, when it comes to electricity, Safe Electricity say there is one safety measure above all others; installing ground fault circuit interrupters, or GFCIs for short. GFCIs can cut off power instantly should your home be about to flood.
After the event of a flood, you may well have some hard decisions to make regarding your electrical appliances. Firstly, if you have the chance and enough warning, you should move all electrical appliance to a higher area (upper floor) to keep them clear of flood water.
However, should some of your electrical appliances be water damaged, there is a very high chance they will never again be safe to use. Flood water contaminates any appliance that is submerged, or even partially submerged. After drying and cleaning, there may well be sediment that has damaged the appliance. Sadly this applies to more than just your kettle and toaster – flood water may also damage your breaker box and general electrical wiring in your home. So after the event of a flood in your home, make sure you consult a professional electrician to verify the safety of your electrical appliances, large and small.
The information above is taken from Safe Electricity. See Safe Electricity for further advice on Electricity Safety During a Flood.
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