Keep Your Family Safe During Flooding

April 27, 2011

Jackson Purchase Energy reminds everyone to be alert to electrical equipment that could be energized and create serious danger of electric shock. The recent heavy rains and flooding in our area increase the potential hazards. Cleaning up and using water-damaged appliances involve safety risks. Jackson Purchase Energy urges parents and other caregivers to make sure children are also aware of these hazards.

"The prospect of an electrical accident is probably not top of mind when you're dealing with a flooded basement, a room, or even outdoors," said Kelly Nuckols, President/CEO of Jackson Purchase Energy. "But it's the first thing you should think of before you step foot in the water."

Some safety measures to keep in mind include:

  • High water can create inadequate clearances in flooded areas under power lines. Always be sure to stay clear of power lines whether they are overhead, on the ground, or in water. Remember, there is no way to be sure a line is not energized simply by looking at it.
  • Never step into a flooded basement or other room if water may be in contact with electrical outlets, appliances, or cords.
  • Never attempt to turn off power at the breaker box if you must stand in water to do so. If you can't reach your breaker box safely, call your electric utility to shut off power at the meter.
  • Never use electric appliances or touch electric wires, switches, or fuses when you're wet or when you're standing in water.
  • Keep electric tools and equipment at least 10 feet away from wet surfaces. Do not use electric yard tools if it's raining or the ground is wet.
  • If an electrical appliance has been in contact with water, have a professional check it out before it is used. It may need to be repaired or replaced.

"A good safety measure is to have ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) professionally installed on outlets," Nuckols said. "These safety devices can cut off power instantly if there's a problem."

GFCIs are recommended for outdoor outlets and outlets near wet areas of the home such as the kitchen, bath, and laundry room. If time does not permit installation before a storm, you can purchase portable GFCIs from a hardware store.

Accidents and fires involving electricity result in more than a thousand deaths and ten thousand injuries each year. Prevention of electricity-related tragedies is the goal of Jackson Purchase Energy.

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