Changing seasons bring unsettled weather. Iowa’s Severe Weather Awareness Week is April 4-8, and Iowa’s electric cooperatives reminds everyone to be prepared and know how to stay safe during and after the storm. You never know when a storm may hit, creating potential electrical hazards for your family. The best solution is to plan ahead and be prepared for the inevitable.
Remember there is an increased risk of electrocution that accompany springtime storms and flooding, and Iowa’s electric cooperatives offer safety tips to avoid serious injury or death when dealing with the aftermath of a major storm or disaster.
Before the storm:
- Assemble a kit of essentials, like battery-operated flashlights and radios, and be prepared for the possibility of a prolonged outage due to power line and electric equipment damage.
- Fill spare containers with water for washing, and keep a supply of bottled drinking water on hand. Maintain a supply of non-perishable food items, along with a hand opener for canned food.
- During an outage, switch off lights and appliances to prevent overloading circuits and damaging appliances when power is restored. Leave one lamp or switch on as a signal for when your power returns.
After the storm:
- When venturing outside after a severe storm, stay away from downed power lines and be alert to the possibility that tree limbs or debris may hide an electrical hazard. Assume that any dangling wires you encounter are electrical, and treat all downed or hanging power lines as if they are energized. Warn others to stay away and contact your electric cooperative.
- Before re-entering storm-damaged buildings or rooms, be sure all electric and gas services are turned off. Never attempt to turn off power at the breaker box if you must stand in water to do so. If you can’t reach your breaker box safely, call your electric utility to shut off power at the meter.
- When using a generator, follow all manufacturers’ recommendations to avoid tragedy. Keep the generator dry and never plug it into a wall outlet or directly into the home’s wiring. This could inadvertently energize the utility lines and injure yourself or others working to restore power.