Everybody’s in a hurry to get everything back to normal after a disaster or any kind of flooding but when it comes to electrical safety, it pays to step back and carefully evaluate things before moving ahead with any work. Here are some emergency tips to keep you safe and to protect your assets in case of water damage.
Water Damage Do’s & Don’ts
Never go into a flood-damaged basement or a basement filled with water until the utility company, fire department, or a licensed electrician has removed the home’s electrical meter from its socket.
- This is extremely important! Why: Removing the meter from the socket is the only way the house can be completely disconnected from the grid. Even if you’ve lost power, you can still be electrocuted in a flooded basement if someone is running a generator nearby and back-feeding electricity into a storm damaged grid. You can’t count on a storm-damaged circuit breaker or disconnect switch to protect you. The only safe way is to remove the meter.
- DO NOT Use a vacuum to remove the excess water
- DO NOT Use electrical appliances while standing on wet flooring or carpets
- DO NOT Go into any room with standing water if the electricity is on
- DO NOT Lift tacked down carpet without professional help as this could cause damage and shrinkage
- DO NOT Go into any room where the ceiling is sagging
If the surrounding are is safe use these steps to insure minimal damage:
- DO Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
- DO Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
- DO Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
- DO Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
- DO Turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in summer.
- DO Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
- DO Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
- DO Gather loose items from floors
Fire Damage Do’s & Don’ts
- DO NOT Wipe or attempt to wash fire residues from walls, ceilings or other absorbent surfaces.
- DO NOT Use carpeting or upholstered furniture impacted by heavy residues or debris.
- DO NOT Use food items or canned goods exposed to heat.
- DO NOT Turn on computers, TV’s, stereos or electrical appliances until they have been cleaned and checked
- DO Clean and protect chrome trim on faucets and other bright-work by washing with detergent and applying a coating of Vaseline or oil.
- DO Blow off or brush-vacuum loose smoke particles from upholstery, draperies and carpeting Open windows for ventilation if weather permits.
- DO Empty refrigerators and freezers if electricity is shut off, and prop doors open with a rolled towel or newspaper to allow air circulation.
- DO Pour antifreeze in toilet bowls, tanks, sink and tub drains to prevent freeze damage if heat is off in winter. Call a plumber to drain and blow out all water lines if heat is off in winter.
- DO Remove pets to a clean environment if heavy fire residues are present.
- DO Send a sample group of garments for cleaning and deodorization in order to observe the results.