Rainy season is a time when we experience an enormous amount of rainfall almost on daily basis with minimal sunshine between. It is also common to see a lot of flooded areas during this period due to rainfall. It is, therefore, pertinent for us and our household to stay safe around electricity during a flood. Aside from the risks of losing one’s property during floods, there are many obvious risks to consider which can be caused by compromised electrical systems and downed power line.
The risks of electrical fires, risk of being electrocuted via electric shock and even death, are the dangers associated with live (exposed) electricity during a flood. It is said that water and electricity never meet, the combination of water and electricity pose a notorious electrical safety hazard. Be it a natural flood event or a water leakage in your home or commercial building, you stand a high chance of electrocution from water damaged appliances, during or after a flood incident.
Most times, we focus more on preventing the flood from damaging the household items that we tend to often neglect the possibility of an electrical accident during or after a flood. It is quite understandable that the victims of flooding rarely considers the implication of flood on their safety as their minds focus more on the loss and damage caused by the flood. Electrical safety and precautionary methods should be paramount during and after flooding, especially for inhabitants of buildings in flood-prone areas, seasides and buildings close to or under high tension wires.
Unarguably, flood incidents require specific electrical safety precautions. Majority of the residential areas are flood prone, thus putting its occupants under the threat of flooding on a regular basis. Based on this premise, it is safe to say one ought to consider making plans to reduce the effect of floods in the home and prevent electrical hazards.
Here are a few ways to stay safe during floods. Remember, you can also improvise:
- First, it is important for every home to have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters. Installing a Ground Fault Interrupter cuts off power instantly when your home is about to be flooded, thus keeping you safe from electrical shock and keeping your appliance from being damaged by earth fault.
- During floods, do not stand on a wet floor barefooted or in water that covers electrical outlets and devices. Do not forget that water and electricity do not mix. The water could be charged with a lethal amount of electric current which may lead to shock.
- Never stand in the water near downed power lines, avoid them. Standing in the water close to a downed power line is more likely to cause electrocution and throw you off balance with great speed.
- Do not go near or interfere with electrical installations which are submerged in flood water. These electrical installations become deadly after they come in contact with water, extreme care should be taken to avoid electrocution or any other electrical hazards.
- Aside from unplugging your appliances, turn off your main power switch or power from the breaker box. Do this before flood encroachment, do not attempt to turn off switches once the water has entered the building when you are wet or standing in water.
- On the side of caution, it is safe to keep all electric appliances 10 feet away from wet surfaces. While doing this, be sure to keep your hands dry.
- One must be on the lookout for signs of sparks and listen keenly for buzzing noises, as they serve as pointers to impending electrical hazards. Stay safe by avoiding areas that are prone to sparks.
Remember, your safety continues long after the flooding as prolonged exposure to lingering water, damages your electrical appliances and leaves them prone to the risk of electric shock or electrical fires. For this reason, water damaged electrical appliances are not safe to use again, whether they were fully or partially submerged in the flood water. Electrical appliances exposed to flood water can be extremely dangerous if re-energized without proper reconditioning, so replacement is the best bet. Here are some tips to follow to stay safe during post-flood periods:
- Stay away from flooded buildings, do not assume it is safe immediately after the flood. They may contain energized electrical wiring or appliances, which may lead to shock when touched or used.
- Engaging the services of industrial dryers are important if your home has been flooded because electrical hazards may exist long after the water recedes. Even if water is not visible in the building, the interior structure may be soaked and still prone to an electrical hazard.
- As much as possible, stay clear of anything that can conduct an electric current such at as metal pipes, metal ladders, and even damp wood.
Note: It is unsafe to assume any flooded area is safe, taking extra caution while walking down any flooded area is at one’s best interest. After the flood incident in your home, engaging the services of a professional electrician to verify the safety of electrical appliances that were affected during the flood, large or small will eliminate any further risks.