Electrical Safety Tips
After any type of water damage, everyone is in a hurry to get things cleaned up and back to normal. From electrical fires to electric shock and even death, the dangers associated with live electricity during and following a flood should be taken seriously. While any disaster can cause electrical safety hazards, the mixture of water and electricity is very serious. Whether caused by a natural flood event or a water leak in your home or commercial building, any flooding incident requires specific safety precautions. ResQ 24 by Thompson Building Associates would like to offer these tips for keeping you, your family and employees safe.
Electrical Safety during a Flood
Among all the risks posed by flooding, the dangers associated with your electrical system are some of the most severe. It is important to treat all electrical appliances, equipment, and outlets with caution.
Keep these electrical safety tips in mind whenever you’re dealing with an active flooding situation:
- Never step in standing water that covers electrical outlets or devices – the water could already be charged with a deadly amount of electric current.
- Do not enter a room if you hear popping or buzzing.
- Do not enter a room if you see sparks.
- If you see downed power lines, avoid them, and notify your local power provider immediately.
- Be on alert for an acrid or burning-plastic smell, which could indicate an electrical fire.
- Do not attempt to operate electrical equipment or appliances that have come into contact with water until a certified electrician says that it is safe.
- Follow all safety precautions from the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI).
Electrical Safety after a Flood
In addition to mold, bacteria and structural weaknesses that can be caused by water, your electrical system and components remain at risk as long as moisture is present. Beyond the risk of electric shock or electrical fires, rust and corrosion from excess water can damage these elements permanently. After any flooding event, you should have a certified electrician or inspector to determine the extent of damage to your electrical system. You may have to replace items such as:
- Wiring, circuitry, switches and outlets
- HVAC equipment and water heaters
- Major appliances, especially anything with a motor
Leave It to the Professionals
While the tips above are basic and general, specific electrical components, water-damaged electrical equipment, and controls always should be approached with care to ensure personal and structural safety. Any time flooding conditions are present, owners of facilities and homes should consult with professionals to assist with electrical safety and water clean-up.