Make Safety a Priority When Preparing For a Hurricane
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 land, coastal residents prepare their homes.
In an effort to make sure that as people work to protect their homes, they do not injure themselves, 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 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 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 ignite natural gas if it is leaking. In some circumstances, you may be instructed by local officials to turn off electricity and gas. If you must evacuate, it will be safer to return home if gas and electricity are off. FEMA recommends that you, and all responsible family members, know where your utilities are, and how to safely shut them off.
Help keep your family safe when a hurricane threat presents itself by staying informed, planning, and safely preparing for the storm.