Severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and flooding can leave more than damage in their wake—they can leave hidden dangers as well. In some cases, more lives are lost after the storm than from the storm itself.
When outside, stay away from downed power lines and be alert to the possibility that tree limbs or debris may hide an electrical hazard. Treat all downed or hanging power lines as if they are energized. Lines do not have to be arcing or sparking to be live. Warn others to stay away, and contact Access Energy Cooperative.
Do not touch downed power lines, and do not touch objects or puddles of water in contact with those lines. There is no way to know if they are energized. Encountering these objects can be as hazardous as coming into contact with a downed power line itself. And PLEASE make sure children are aware of these hazards as well.
Other precautions involving storms:
- If you are driving and come upon a downed power line, stay in your vehicle, warn others to stay away, and contact emergency personnel and Access Energy Cooperative. Never drive over a downed line, as it could pull down poles and other items along its path.
- Be alert at intersections where traffic lights may be out. Stop at all railroad crossings, and treat road intersections with traffic signals as four-way stops before proceeding with caution.
- Before re-entering storm-damaged buildings or rooms, be sure all electric and gas services are turned off.
- Never attempt to turn off power at the breaker box if you must stand in water to do so. If you cannot reach your breaker box safely, call Access Energy Cooperative to shut off power at the meter.
- Never enter a flooded basement or other area if water is covering electrical outlets, appliances, or cords.
- Be alert to any electrical equipment that could be energized and in contact with water.
- Never touch electrical appliances, cords, or wires while you are wet or standing in water.
- Keep electric tools and equipment at least ten feet away from wet surfaces. Do not use electric yard tools if it is raining or the ground is wet.
- Electric motors in appliances that have been drenched or submerged should be thoroughly cleaned and reconditioned before they are put back into service. It may be necessary to replace them. Do not use any water-damaged appliances until a professional has checked it out.
- If you use a portable generator, be sure a transfer safety switch has been installed, or connect appliances directly to the generator. This prevents electricity from traveling back through the home to power lines—what is known as “backfeed.” Backfeed creates danger for anyone near lines, particularly crews working to restore power.
- For additional information, tips and safety videos, visit www.accessenergycoop.com.