Electrical equipment and wiring that has been exposed to water through flooding, fire fighting activities, etc may be dangerous if re-energized without proper evaluation and reconditioning or replacement by qualified persons. |
In many cases the water has been contaminated with soil, debris, chemicals, sewage, oil, or other substances. Reduced performance of electrical equipment and wiring and the integrity of electrical insulations due to contamination by moisture and pollutants may lead to fire and shock hazards. Remember, water and electricity don't mix.
What do I do before evacuation?
In any area where immediate flooding is anticipated, it is essential to shut off all electrical power by turning off the main service switch. If there is time, move as much electrical equipment as possible to floors or areas above the anticipated flood level. It is important not only to be prepared for the flooding, but to make preparations for normal living after the flood had subsided. Note: Always have a flashlight and batteries ready - flooding may occur at night.
Flooding forces homeowners to ask many difficult questions about water-damaged electrical equipment in their houses.
Can I use appliances after they dry out? Are circuit breakers and fuses safe to use? Will I need to replace my electrical wiring?
Floodwater contaminants can create serious fire hazards if electrical wiring and equipment have been submerged in water. Even with professional cleaning and drying, sediments and toxins are difficult to remove.
As families begin to clean up after a flood, there may be hidden electrical hazards. This is not a do-it-yourself project! Before beginning, have a qualified electrician check the house wiring, assess other damages and proceed with repair work. Then, follow these important safety tips:
Do not flip a switch or plug in an appliance until an electrician tells you it is safe. Do not touch a circuit breaker or replace a fuse with wet hands or while standing on a wet surface. Use a dry plastic- or rubber-insulated tool to reset breakers and use only one hand. Do not allow power cord connections to become wet. Do not remove or bypass the ground pin on a three-prong plug. Use portable ground-fault circuit-interrupter (GFCI) protective devices to help prevent electrocutions and electrical shock injuries. If electrical devices such as circuit breakers, fuses, GFCIs, receptacles, plugs and switches have been submerged, discard them. When using a wet-dry vacuum cleaner or a pressure washer, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions to avoid electric shock. Portable generators emit carbon monoxide (CO), a poisonous gas that is colorless and odorless. For this reason, portable generators should never be used indoors or outdoors near open doors, windows or vents. Do not turn on damaged electrical appliances. Electrical parts can pose an electric shock hazard or overheat and cause a fire.
For more safety tips during flood, check links below:
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