An Electrician’s Tips for Electrical Safety in Extreme Weather Conditions
For electricians, electrical safety is a must. Basic electrical safety can be undertaken through some basic steps such as regular checking and maintenance of electrical systems and wiring, avoiding overloading of sockets, using the right equipment in suitable conditions, and the immediate repair of damaged wires or other electrical equipment.
Sometimes, however, even the most well-maintained electrical system can become dangerous in extreme weather conditions. Water and electricity make for a deadly combination, and there are numerous weather changes that might bring electricity and water together unless safety measures are undertaken. Whether you are dealing with rain, storms, typhoons, hurricanes, or earthquakes, extreme caution should always be taken when dealing with electric cables or electric connections that may become damaged as a result.
Still, experiencing unpredictable weather conditions means that we never know when we might experience the possibility of electrocution in unsafe weather. In this article, we look at some basic electrical safety tips from professional electricians when it comes to dealing with electricity in extreme weather conditions.
- In preparing for a storm, pack up electrical equipment and any outdoor appliance and store them in a dry and safe place
- Always stay updated with weather updates by listening to local radio stations or other forms of news dissemination
- Know where the power can be turned off in case of an emergency. You might want to label circuits properly so that you can cut the power immediately in case an emergency arises.
- If you are expecting floodwaters, move electrical equipment to a higher area. If the ground is wet, never use electrical equipment in your yard or anywhere where it can get wet.
- Stay away from power lines, but report any fallen or damaged power lines immediately
- If there is a power outage, or if you’ve lost power at your home, unplug all electrical appliances and equipment
- If you have a solar power generating, system, stay away from it, including the solar panels and its cables.
- If you are expecting an electrical storm, install surge protectors, unplug all electrical equipment, stay away from windows and doors, trees, and water, including plumbing such as sinks, faucets, and baths
- When expecting a storm, make sure that the nearby trees do not have heavy branches overhanging overhead powerlines. You might want to call your local electric company to trim trees that could potentially damage nearby powerlines
- If you are expecting a thunderstorm, head indoors. If you are caught outdoors during a thunderstorm, avoid high places, and stay away from tall, isolated trees.
- During the wintertime, people’s usage of electricity and electrical equipment rises, and the likelihood of electrical fires and electrocution also rises. The majority of home fires are caused by heating equipment, the second leading cause of home fires in the United States. Always make sure to purchase heating equipment that has been tested for safety, and read the instructions and warning labels carefully. Do not use if it has any cracks, loose connections or frayed wiring, and never leave it unattended. Turn it off when you are leaving the room. And never place heating equipment near combustible items. You might also want to install fire alarms so that you can catch fires early before too much damage is done.
- If you are using standby generators during a power outage, always read the manufacturer’s instructions and follow them carefully. Never use one unless you have a working transfer switch. This prevents electricity from back-feeding into power lines, which could be dangerous for linemen working on repairing fallen powerlines.
- Use weatherproof covers for outdoor electrical outlets. Use GFCIs or ground-fault circuit interrupters, whether for outdoor or indoor electrical outlets. Make sure your GFCIs have been tested and are properly working.
- If you are actually experiencing pleasant weather conditions that seem perfect for outdoor activities, stay away from power lines. Don’t climb trees that are near power lines, don’t throw any object up onto powerlines, and don’t attempt to retrieve anything that might be hanging from a power line.
The bottom line is, it is always prudent to practice electrical safety, but even more so when we are experiencing extreme weather conditions like winter, rainstorms, thunderstorms, flooding, or even the intense heat of summer. The most important safety tip of all is never to handle electrical work yourself. Always call an electrician because they have the necessary training and experience to deal with the dangers of electrical work. But if you are caught up in an emergency situation and the professional services of an electrician is not readily available, arm yourself with the safety tips outlined above.
As a basic rule, avoid going near a place that is dangerous and which might be prone to electric currents. Always assume that any power lines and wet electric cables are live and dangerous.
If you can do so safely, turn off the power. Know which areas are safe and not safe during thunderstorms. Even if the dangers are from naturally occurring electricity, and not electricity that comes from a power cable or a socket, the dangers are no less real.