10 Tips to Keep You Safe from Electrical Hazards During Hurricane Season
As Hurricanes Marco and Laura approach the Gulf Coast this week, experts are calling their arrival “unprecedented” as the two storms could make landfall within days of each other. Weather experts are also reminding coastal communities that additional storms could still be on the horizon, with late September and October being the peak months for hurricane activity.
To help residents navigate this storm season, NFPA provides the following electrical safety tips that 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.
- 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 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.
The following are key guidelines for using a portable generator:
- Generators should be operated in well ventilated locations outdoors away from all doors, windows and vent openings.
- Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open.
- Place generators so that exhaust fumes can't enter the home through windows, doors, or other openings in the building.
NFPA's safety tip sheet on portable generators provides these steps and more to help keep you safe.
Related information can found on NFPA's “emergency preparedness” webpage.