Storm Safety Tips
- Never touch a fallen power line, and assume all wires on the ground are electrically charged. Report downed lines immediately. Avoid contact with overhead lines during cleanup and other activities.
- Be careful when attempting to walk in flooded areas and remember that submerged outlets or electrical cords could energize the water.
- In the event of an outage during winter months, an alternate heating source—such as a fireplace, propane space heater, or wood stove—may be used. Extreme caution should be taken. Fuel and wood-burning heating sources should be vented. Be sure to follow manufacturer’s directions.
- Do not use a gas-powered oven for heating. A gas oven may go out or burn inefficiently, leading to carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Make sure carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors are working properly.
- Do not use electrical appliances that have been wet. Water can damage the motors in electrical appliances, such as furnaces, freezers, refrigerators, washing machines, and dryers. Electrical parts can pose a shock hazard or overheat and cause a fire.
Portable Generator Safety
Take special care with portable electric generators, which can provide a good source of power, but if improperly installed or operated, can become deadly. Do not connect generators directly to household wiring. Power from generators can back-feed along power lines and electrocute anyone coming in contact with them, including line workers making repairs. A qualified, licensed electrician should install your generator to ensure that it meets local electrical codes. Other tips include:
- Make sure your generator is properly grounded.
- Keep the generator dry.
- Make sure extension cords used with generators are rated for the load, and are free of cuts, worn insulation, and have three-pronged plugs.
- Do not overload the generator.
- Do not operate the generator in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. Generators can produce high levels of carbon monoxide very quickly, which can be deadly.
- Use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to help prevent electrocutions and electrical shock injuries. Portable GFCIs require no tools to install and are available at prices ranging from $12 to $30.
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