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One of the most important things to focus after a hurricane is the electrical system and appliance. After a storm or hurricane, homeowners should only re-enter their homes once the floodwaters have receded. Avoid all contact with any electrical system if your home still stands in flood waters. But it is very important to inspect your home visually even from afar for any obvious damages that would make your home unsafe to enter. If you are unsure about the electrical safety of your home, it is best to evacuate the property and have a licensed electrician perform the inspection before proceeding with any home restoration.
If your home appears stable and an electrician has deemed it safe to enter, the next step is to check for electrical appliances or devices that are most often indicated by sparks or frayed wires and this should be done in partnership with the electrician. Fire is the most frequent accident following floods and hurricanes. So you have to first check for broken electrical circuits, submerged electrical appliances and furnaces since these are fire hazards. Make sure you visually check for broken or frayed wires in your electrical system. If you smell something burning or there are sparks, turn off electricity from the main fuse box or circuit breaker (again provided that you’re not stepping on a flooded water).
When you see water and silt get inside your electrical devices after a hurricane, it means corrosion and insulation damage can occur. We all know that water is the number one enemy of any electrical appliances since it always damage its motors, so aside from restoring your electrical system and reconditioning it, you should also be ready to replace it.
Below are safety tips to help you rehabilitate, restore, and re-condition your home electrical system and your home appliances after the storm or the hurricane. It is recommended that you allow a licensed electrician to guide you on the restoration or replacement of any electrical equipment in your home:
1. Get the ‘go-signal’ from the electrician if your fuse or circuit breakers are safe to use. This is very important because damages to these can cause more electrical problems and cause even fire.
2. Make sure to only use the appliances when they already completely clean from silt and had dried out; and when the electrician tells you so;
3. Consider replacing your electrical wirings. If the electrical wirings and equipments got submerged in water, contaminants can create fire hazards. Sometimes professional cleaning won’t help since the wires are most likely exposed to chemicals and toxins present in your neighborhood and are very difficult to remove;
4. Do not let power cord connections become wet;
5. Use portable GFCI (Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupter) to prevent electrical shock injuries;
6. Discard GFCIs, plugs and switches, receptacles, circuit breakers, and fuses when they have been submerged in flood water;
7. Don’t work with wet hands especially if it’s concerning electrical devices;
8. Never use portable generator indoors or anywhere near doors, windows, and vents because it emits carbon monoxide (CO) which is very lethal when inhaled;
9. When you see your electrical appliance damage, don’t turn on the device to check it, most likely it will not run as usual, you are only increasing the chance of fire in your home.