The first thing you think about when it storms probably has nothing to do with electrical hazards and keeping yourself safe, but it should. Though your mind probably jumps to potential water damage and the possibility of more severe weather on the horizon, thunderstorms and natural disasters are prime times for electrical accidents and catastrophes. As spring approaches, it’s a good idea to arm yourself with knowledge. That way, you’re prepared, calm, and safe when storms roll in.
Why Are Storms Electrical Hazards?
Though many are familiar with the potential for water damage and flooding with any heavy storm, few people know the importance of staying safe from electrical hazards. Aside from the fact that lightning itself carries tremendous amounts of energy and electricity, there are other elements of nature at play during storms that make them dangerous. Lightning, heavy winds, and flooding all carry their own risks, not all of them electrical.
Protecting Yourself From Winds
Strong winds wreak havoc, causing widespread damage faster than nearly any other element in nature. Downed power lines are the biggest electrical threat caused by strong winds. Downed lines should be avoided at all costs as they’re high voltage and extremely dangerous. If you notice a power line is down, report it right away so that a team of professionals can take care of the situation. Do not drive over them or attempt to manipulate them. Turn around and get yourself away from the area.
Protecting Yourself From Floods
If you know a flood is coming, there are steps you can take to prepare your electrical equipment. Unplug appliances and place them on higher ground if water levels are likely to rise. If you’re evacuating your home, have the power to your home shut off before you leave.
Damage that’s already occurred needs to be addressed and inspected by a licensed electrician in order to make sure that everything is still safe and up to electrical code. This includes things like:
- Circuit breakers
- Electrical boxes
Protecting Yourself From Lightning
Though beautiful, lightning isn’t a tame beast. Preventing damage means acting fast. As soon as you notice lightning, unplug electrical appliances so that they’re not damaged during the storm. Try your best to stay away from faucets, showers, and other plumbing during the strongest part of the storm since water is an excellent conductor of electricity. Desktop computers and corded phones, if you have one, should be avoided as well.
What If I’m Caught Outside in a Storm?
The safest place during any storm is inside a building, preferably one with either a basement or a safe room without windows on the ground floor. Sometimes storms come on without warning though, and you’re left stranded and exposed out in the elements. In scenarios like this, what’s the best course of action?
Lightning is your biggest threat when caught in a storm. Since it tends to hit the highest point in an area, stay low to the ground and away from trees, fences, and other tall objects. Stay away from metal objects and buildings, other people, and water. If you’re in a vehicle, it’s a safe place from the storm. Do not leave the vehicle. Instead, wait for the storm to subside and then cautiously drive to your destination once it’s safe to do so.
Creating Your Electrical Safety Plan
Written plans always lead to more action. A written electrical safety plan helps keep you and your belongings safe during storms and disasters. Have what you can and can’t do during a storm printed and placed somewhere easy to read along with your plan of action. Make sure that each member of your family knows what to do in case of an emergency, and have a meeting spot established in case you are separated. Know where the nearest evacuation shelters and checkpoints in your neighborhood are as well.
Your Canton Electrical Experts
Beck Electric Company is an experienced electric company that has been serving the Canton, OH area since 2007. Our service offers are extensive and range from both residential and commercial generators and electric services to smart home technology installations. We even have an electric car charging station. Let us help keep your belongings safe from electrical hazards. Our surge protection services keep your electronics safe during storms and power outages. Call us today and we’ll be glad to provide you with more information.