Editor’s Note: The following news was released on June 9, 2014, from the Energy Education Council in Springfield, Illinois. Naperville is fortunate to have few power outages, thanks to buried power lines throughout the city limits. Still, a refresher course regarding electrical hazards and what to do after a storm is worth the read. Certainly, this city has had its share of damage caused by storms and high winds in recent years.
High winds, hail, and tornadoes swept across the Great Plains Sunday and Monday, causing injuries and damage to property. This storm system brings the threat of more severe weather as it moves across the country.
Safe Electricity cautions that once the storm has passed, it does necessarily mean that the danger has. Look out for possible electrical hazards left behind by storms.
“Debris left from storms can hide dangers, like downed power lines,” says Molly Hall, executive director of the Safe Electricity program. “Make sure you and your family consider potential dangers during any cleanup after a storm.”
Never touch downed power lines or objects in contact with those lines. Touching a downed line or something that it has fallen over, like a fence or a tree limb, could get you injured or killed. A downed power line does not have to be arcing or smoking to be deadly. Stay away, and instruct others to do the same.
If you come across downed power lines, call 911 and your utility immediately.
Things to consider after a storm:
- Before entering storm-damaged buildings, make sure electricity and gas are turned off.
- If you are inspecting your home in the dark, use a flashlight rather than a candle or some other open flame to avoid the risk of fire or explosion due to a gas leak.
- If you see frayed wiring or sparks or if there is an odor of something burning, shut off the electrical system at the main circuit breaker if you know how and can do so safely.
- If you smell gas, or suspect a leak, get out of the house. Call 911, and notify your gas utility immediately.
- Never enter a flooded basement if electrical outlets are under water. The water could be energized.
- Do not turn power off if you must stand in water to do so. Call your power company, and have them turn off power at the meter.
Do not venture out on roads after storm unless you have to. If you are driving and come along a downed power line, stay away and warn others to stay away. Contact emergency personal or your utility company to address the downed power line. If your vehicle comes in contact with a downed power line, do not leave the car. Wait for utility and emergency professionals to make sure the power line is de-energized before exiting the car.
When it comes time to clean up after the storm, do not use water-damaged electronics before properly restoring them. Electric motors in appliances should be cleaned and reconditioned before use. It may be necessary to replace some of your appliances and electronics. Have your water-damaged items inspected and approved by a professional before using them.
Find more information on electrical safety and storms at SafeElectricity.org.
Did you know? The Energy Education Council is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to promoting electrical safety and energy efficiency. Established in 1952, the Council serves as a forum for diverse utility and energy organizations to collaborate on the mutually vital issues of efficiency and safety.