STATELINE (WIFR) -- The Energy Education Council -- Safe Electricity has released the following statement concerning flood safety and electricity safety.
Stay Safe as Waters Rise: Safe Electricity Offers Tips on Flooding Safety
(Springfield, Ill.) - The continuing rain on top of several inches in recent days has raised the threat of flash flooding for portions of Illinois through Friday. Flash floods are the greatest weather-related killer in the United States, in part because they can become dangerous so quickly. Safe Electricity wants to help you stay safe by sharing tips on how to avoid electrical hazards associated with flooding.
"Illinois streams and rivers are on the rise, and the storms and rainfall we've seen can create various types of flooding, including very dangerous flash floods as well as flooding of basements, homes, and low lying areas," explains Molly Hall, executive director of the Energy Education Council. "Electrical dangers can be present as flood waters rise, as well as when communities start to dry out, and these electrical hazards are extremely dangerous."
The best way to stay safe from flooding is to be prepared. Safe Electricity has the following tips to help you prepare for and stay safe during and after a flood:
• Do not drive in flood waters. It is difficult to tell by sight how deep floodwaters are. It only takes six inches of water for your car to lose control and stall. Your car could be swept out of control and into electrical dangers. Accidents related to driving are the leading killer related to floods.
• If you see downed power lines or damaged equipment, stay away, warn others to stay away, and notify your utility.
• Do not enter flood waters on foot or in boat. Flood waters hold unknown dangers. The water could be energized or could sweep you into electrical equipment. Just six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.
• Use extreme caution when entering a flooded basement or room. Water could be in contact with plugged in appliances or outlets, energizing the water and making it dangerous to step in. If there is any question that water could be energized, do not enter the area.
• Do not stand in water to turn on or shut down electrical power. Never do projects or tasks involving electricity if you are wet or standing in water.
• If instructed to do so, turn off utilities at the main switch before evacuating. Unplug appliances and electronics. Do no re-enter your home until you are certain it is safe. Never turn on natural gas. Only professionals should turn on natural gas.
• Have a sump pump with a back-up battery in case the power goes out and an alarm to alert you of flooding.
• Replace appliances and electronics that are water damaged.
• Elevate the water heater, electric panel, and furnace if your home is flood-prone.
Visit SafeElectricity.org to learn more about electrical safety.