There are many things to consider after a flood. Assessing the damage, contacting your flood insurance, figuring out where you’re going to stay while everything gets back to normal… the list goes on and on. One of the most important things is knowing the basics of electrical safety after the flood.
Electrical safety after a flood is one of the most crucial topics you need to educate yourself on. Your life depends on it. Read on to learn important safety precautions and recommendations on how to handle electricity after a flood.
Do Not Go Into Flooded Building By Yourself
Repeat after me: I will NOT go into a flooded building by myself. This is not the time to be a superhero. After a flood, safety is the #1 priority.
A flooded building is full of risk. It will most likely be dark, definitely slippery. Even without power, there could be electrical voltage in the water.
When entering a flooded building, implementing the buddy system is a smart move. Also, put on chest waders, and bring a bright flashlight that clips to your hat or your waders so you don’t have to carry it.
Remove The Electrical Meter From Its Socket
A flooded or water-damaged home is a breeding ground for disaster. Even if you’ve lost electricity, a nearby generator could be back-feeding electricity into a storm-damaged grid. Do not count on the circuit breaker or disconnect switch that might have been damaged in the storm to protect you. Removing the meter is the only way to 100% avoid electrocution.
Everywhere in the house, consider all electrical outlets and switches to be out of order until a licensed electrician has made the home safe, conducted a thorough inspection and established a schedule for electrical repairs.
This is not a DIY project, wait for the utility company, fire department, or a licensed electrician to remove the home’s electrical meter from its socket.
Be Ready To Replace Electrical Equipment (and possibly appliances)
Most electrical equipment is not rated to withstand submersion – even briefly. Among the components of the electrical distribution system and others that you will probably need to replace are: Plastic-sheathed building wire, armored cable, circuit panels and circuit breakers, fuse boxes and fuses, sub panels, switched disconnect boxes, switches, outlet receptacles, motors, circuit boards, non-submersible pumps, blowers and fans, lights, heaters, air conditioners, furnaces and boilers.
Some appliances such as refrigerators and freezers might still work after a flood, but make sure to have someone check them out before you plug them in. Also, you will want to ask your electrician to inspect the grounding and bonding to assess any damage there.
Recovery after a flood can take weeks – if not months. I am sure you will want to assess the damage as quickly as possible to work on getting your life back to normal. But it’s important to maintain a clear head and be precautious after a flood. Make safety your top priority – always!