To help residents navigate this storm, following these electrical safety tips can help reduce the risk for injury before, during, and after a storm:
Listen to local weather reports for current weather and flooding conditions.
Turn off utilities if instructed to do so by authorities and turn off propane tanks.
Stay out of flood waters, if possible, and do not drive into flooded areas. Even water only several inches deep can be dangerous.
Treat all downed wires as if they are live even if you don't see any sparks, and especially if there is standing water nearby. Alert authorities immediately if you see downed wires in your area.
If your home has experienced flooding, it's important to keep your power OFF until a professional electrician has inspected your entire home for safety, including appliances. Water can damage the internal components in electrical appliances like refrigerators, washing machines and dryers, and cause shock and fire hazards. Have a qualified electrician come to visit your home and determine what electrical equipment should be replaced and what can be reconditioned.
If you smell gas in your home or neighborhood, notify emergency authorities immediately. Do not turn on lights, light matches, or engage in any activity that could create a spark.
In the event that electricity may not be available to your home, and you have not experienced any water in your home, generators are a viable option to power some of your small appliances. However, if used improperly they also pose a fire hazard, risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, and electrocution.