As floodwaters recede and communities in Texas and Florida begin the slow task of rebuilding neighborhoods and businesses in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, President Jim Pauley has affirmed NFPA support to residents and first responders as they engage in recovery efforts.
NFPA offers a number of resources for residents, including tips, toolkits and emergency planning information, in addition to key action steps they can take when returning home to help reduce the risk of injury from electrical hazards due to the submersion of electrical systems and appliances in floodwaters. These steps include:
- If your home has experienced flooding, it’s important to keep your power off until a professional electrician has inspected your entire home for safety, including appliances. Water can damage the internal components in electrical appliances like refrigerators, washing machines and dryers, and cause shock and fire hazards. Have a qualified electrician come visit your home and determine what electrical equipment should be replaced and what can be reconditioned.
- If you smell gas in your home or neighborhood, notify emergency authorities immediately. Do not turn on lights, light matches or engage in any activity that could create a spark.
- Treat all downed wires as if they are live even if you don’t see any sparks, and especially if there is standing water nearby. Alert authorities immediately if you see downed wires in your area.
- In the event that electricity may not be available to your home yet and you have not experienced any water in your home, generators are a viable option to power some of your small appliances. However, if used improperly they also pose a fire hazard, risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and electrocution. Tips for safe use of generators.
NFPA also provides guidelines for electrical professionals to help prevent equipment failures and worker injuries when they are tasked with recovering electrical equipment after a disaster:
- NFPA 70B: Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance. NFPA 70B details preventative maintenance for electrical, electronic and communication systems and equipment such as those used in industrial and commercial buildings, and large multi-family complexes, to prevent equipment failures and worker injuries.
- Free download of Chapter 32 of NFPA 70B, Electrical Disaster Recovery, which provides the useful framework you need as you begin work on recovering electrical equipment.
Additional disaster-related safety information and resources include:
- Consumer information to help residents plan before, during and after a storm
- Free tips and information to help communities better prepare for a disaster
- Hurricane safety tip sheet
- Flood safety tip sheet
Find these and other NFPA tips and resources by visiting www.nfpa.org/disaster.