According to the Red Cross, the historic flood that has devastated Louisiana in recent weeks is now considered the worst natural disaster to hit the U.S. since Hurricane Sandy four years ago. And with scattered rain still affecting some parts of the state, others are getting the green light to return home and begin cleanup efforts.
If authorities have told you it is okay to return to your house, it’s important to consider the dangers that may still exist even if they don’t seem obvious, including the risk of electrocution if your home still has water inside. NFPA electrical experts offer some key action steps you can take to help keep yourself and your family safer when returning home:
• 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. Have a qualified electrician determine what electrical equipment should be replaced, and what can be reconditioned.
• In the event that electricity may not be available to your home yet, 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. Run your generator away from your home and open windows; don't run the generator inside your garage, even if you keep the door open. NFPA’s safety tips sheet on portable generators takes you step-by-step to keep you safe. Find it at www.nfpa.org/generators.
As people slowly start the process of getting their lives back to normal in Louisiana, NFPA reminds everyone to stay connected to authorities as they will have the latest information on safety conditions in the affected areas. For additional information on electrical safety in your home, please visit NFPA’s website.