Make Safety a Priority When Preparing for a Hurricane
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The peak season for hurricanes in the Atlantic lasts from August to October, according to the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory. As hurricanes develop and make their way towards potential landfall, coastal residents prepare their homes for such storms.
In an effort to make sure that as people work to protect their homes, the work doesn’t result in increased injuries, Safe Electricity urges all homeowners to take the proper precautions—especially when working around electrical equipment and overhead power lines.
Safety tips to keep in mind include:
- Before tackling any project, take a few minutes to prepare for the job. Make sure you’ve got the right tools and check cords for any cracks or frayed insulation. Take note of potential hazards in the work area such as overhead power lines, especially those connected to the home.
- When working to protect your home from a hurricane, take the time to look up and around you. Always be aware of the location of power lines, particularly when using long metal tools like ladders and pruning poles, or installing straps or clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure.
- Be especially careful when working near power lines attached to your house. Keep equipment and yourself at least 10 feet from lines. Never trim trees near power lines and never use water or blower extensions to clean gutters near electric lines. It is not worth the risk—leave that work to the trained professionals.
- If your outdoor outlets are not equipped with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), use a portable GFCI. If a faulty tool is plugged in, the GFCI is designed to shut off the power quickly enough to prevent an electrical accident.
- Electricity + water = danger. If it’s raining or the ground is wet, don’t use electric power or yard tools. Never use electrical appliances or touch circuit breakers or fuses when you’re wet or standing in water. Keep electric equipment at least 10 feet from wet areas.
Electrical sparks can potentially ignite natural gas if it is leaking. FEMA recommends locating your electricity circuit box and teaching all responsible household members where and how to shut off the electricity so that you are prepared in case you are instructed to turn off the utility service at your home. For your safety, always shut off all the individual circuits before shutting off the main circuit breaker.
Help keep your family safe when a hurricane threat presents itself by staying informed, planning, and safely preparing for the storm.