Prepare for severe storms
The months of April to July represent the most active months in severe storms, lightning, lightning, thunder, and tornadoes. Molly Hall, Executive Director of the Safe Electricity Program, wants to remind everyone of some tips to stay safe before, during, and after severe storms.
“You never know when a storm is going to strike, creating potential electrical hazards for you and your family,” says Hall. “The best solution is to be prepared in advance. This list will help keep your family safe throughout the year. ”
Before a storm:
- Gather a kit of essentials like flashlights and battery radios. Keep a list of emergency phone numbers, including that of the electric company. Prepare for the possibility of a long-term blackout due to damage to power lines and equipment. ”
- Fill extra containers with water to wash and keep on hand a quantity of bottled water to drink. Keep a stock of non-perishable groceries with a manual can opener to open canned goods.
- During a blackout, turn off lights and unplug appliances to prevent circuit overload and appliance damage when the power returns. Leave a lamp or signal switch on for when the electricity returns.
- Tune in to your local weather forecast radio station if you suspect the possibility of bad weather. Understand the National Weather Service’s ad classification system. A tornado or severe storm watch means that conditions are favorable for the formation of such weather situations. A warning means that dangerous conditions are forming and imminent.
- Consider having a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) installed by a professional, or purchasing a portable one. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters can shut off power if there is a problem and are recommended for electrical outlets for outdoor use and in areas of the home that may be exposed to water, such as basements, bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.
- Lightning can travel up to ten miles away from a storm, so seek shelter as soon as thunder is heard.
After the storm:
- When venturing outside after a storm, stay away from downed power lines and stay alert to the possibility of downed branches and debris hiding electrical hazards. Assume any hanging wires you find are electrical and treat any hanging wire or power line as if they are charged. Warn others to stay away and call the electric service company.
- If you are driving and find a downed power line, stay in your vehicle, warn others to stay away, and call emergency personnel or the electric service company. Also, when driving, be careful at intersections where traffic lights may be off. Stop at all railroad crossings and treat road intersections with traffic signs as if they were four-stop corners before proceeding with caution.
- Before entering storm-damaged buildings or rooms, make sure that the electricity and gas services have been turned off. Never try to cut the power at the fuse box if you have to stand in water to do so. If you cannot reach the fuse box safely, call the electric service company to cut the power to the meter.
- Never enter a basement or other flooded area if water covers outlets, appliances, or wires. Be careful of any electrical equipment that may be charged and in contact with water. Never touch electrical appliances, wires, or cables while you are wet or standing in water.
- Cleaning and using household appliances or other electrical appliances have safety risks. Electric motors in appliances that have been submerged in water must be carefully cleaned and reconditioned before being put into service. It may be necessary to repair or replace appliances or power tools that have been in contact with water. Do not use any appliance that has been damaged by water until it has been checked by a professional.
- When using an electricity generator, follow all manufacturing recommendations to avoid tragedy. Keep the generator dry and never plug it into a wall outlet or directly into the house wiring. This could inadvertently charge electricity lines and injure yourself or others who are working to restore service.
For more electrical safety information, visit SafeElectricity.org.