This week, Subtropical Storm Alberto made landfall in Florida and is expected to bring more rain to surrounding areas during the week. Alberto ushers in the official hurricane season, which starts June 1. Weather officials say the 2018 hurricane season is shaping up to be “near- or above-normal,” and they say there's a 75 percent chance we’ll see near or more than the average number of storms in the Atlantic.
To help residents navigate this storm season, NFPA provides the following electrical safety tips that can help reduce the risk for injury before, during, and after a storm:
- Turn off utilities if instructed to do so by authorities, and turn off propane tanks.
- Stay out of flood waters, if possible, and do not drive into flooded areas. Even water only several inches deep can be dangerous.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
The following are key guidelines for using a portable generator:
- Generators should be operated in well ventilated locations outdoors away from all doors, windows and vent openings.
- Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open.
- Place generators so that exhaust fumes can’t enter the home through windows, doors or other openings in the building.
For any questions or concerns about your home’s electrical system, contact a qualified electrician who can help, and visit our electrical safety webpage for additional tips and resources.
More severe weather safety information is available by visiting NFPA’s severe storm fire safety webpage.