Safety Tips for Flood Victims

TYPES OF FIRE RELATED HAZARDS PRESENT AFTER A FLOOD

 Alternative heating devices used incorrectly create fire hazards. Proper use and maintenance can decrease the possibility of fire.
 Damaged or leaking gas lines or containers may explode or ignite.
 Pools of water and even appliances can be electrically charged. This can result in an electrical fire or serious electrical shock.
 Appliances that have been exposed to water can short and become a fire hazard.

ELECTRICAL SAFETY

 Remove standing water, wet carpets and furnishings. Air-dry your home with good ventilation before restoring power.
 When using a wet-dry vacuum, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid electrical shock. Do not allow the power cord connections to become wet. Do not remove or bypass the ground pin on the three-prong plug. Never allow the connection between the machines power cord and extension cord to lie in water.
 If using extension cords, use the appropriate size and type to carry the electric load. Overloaded cords can overheat and cause a fire. Remember that extension cords are intended for temporary use only.
 Have a licensed electrician check your home for damage before power is restored. Electric Circuit breakers and fuses can malfunction when water and silt get inside. Circuit breakers and fuses that have been submerged in water should be replaced and must be done by a licensed electrician.
 Do not use electrical appliances that have been wet. Water can damage the motors in electrical appliances, such as furnaces, freezers, refrigerators, washing machines and dryers. If electrical appliances have been under water, have them dried out and reconditioned by a qualified service repairman.
 If using a generator for temporary power, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines and use outdoors only.

HEATING SAFETY

 Leaking or damaged gas lines or propane tanks may explode or ignite.
 If you suspect a gas leak, don’t light a match, use any electrical appliance, turn lights on or off, or use the phone. If you smell gas, or hear gas leaking, turn off the main valve if possible, open windows, and leave the area immediately, and call NICOR.
 NICOR, or a qualified service technician, must restore natural gas service that has been turned off.

 Gas control valves on furnaces, water heaters, and other gas appliances that have been under water are unfit for continued use. Silt and corrosion from floodwater can damage internal components of control valves and prevent proper operation. Replace ALL gas control valves that have been under water. A qualified service technician must do repairs.
 Alternative heat sources (space heaters) need their space. Keep anything combustible at least 3 feet away. Make sure they have “tip switches” that turn off the heater in the event they tip over. Do not use alternative heat sources to dry clothes or furnishings.
 Do not use the kitchen oven or range to heat or dry your home. In addition to being a fire hazard, it can be a source of toxic fumes.

AND REMEMBER…

 Be careful when using candles. Keep the flame away from combustible objects and out of the reach of children. Do not leave burning candles unattended and always extinguish them before leaving.
 Some smoke alarms may be dependent on your homes electrical service and could be inoperative until electrical service is restored. Check to see if your smoke alarm uses a back-up battery and install a new battery if necessary. If your electrical powered smoke alarm does not have battery back up, purchase and install and use a battery powered smoke alarm until electrical service is restored.
 Purchase and install a Carbon Monoxide detector before using gas-fueled appliances or furnace.
 If there is a fire hydrant near your home, keep it clear of debris for easy access by the fire department.
 Have your address clearly displayed on the front of your house.


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