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What to do about Flood and Water Damage

Water, water, everywhere…please don’t touch a thing!

Although there is no official “flood season” in the U.S., most flooding occurs in the early spring and fall, most commonly in areas where the topography is below sea level. Last year, 14 million people were affected by flooding and 200 million were at risk.

The places most susceptible to flooding may surprise you. Cities like Miami, FL and Charleston, SC certainly made the list. But, so did New York, NY, where 300,000 people live less than a meter above sea level, and Newark, NJ.

The U.S. states most at risk are Florida, Louisiana, California, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Massachusetts and Georgia. If you’re a resident, it’s always best to be aware of the precautions you should take should the weather turn, especially when it comes to your electrical safety.

If you are in a high-risk area - then it is important to follow these important safety tips to make sure these electrical dangers don’t happen to you.

  1. NEVER step into a flooded room with electrical appliances or wiring, especially if the water line has risen above outlets, baseboard heaters/furnaces, power cords or electrical panels. Make sure the power has been turned off before stepping into a flooded room. *Contact your utility company, fire department or a Mister Sparky electrician to make sure the electricity is truly disconnected.
  1. Do NOT touch any electrical system or device with wet hands or while standing in water. Water is a powerful conductor! Even if the power is out you can still get electrocuted if someone is operating a generator nearby or back-feeding electricity into a flooded grid.
  1. Be sure to have your wiring checked once it is safe to do so and have the damage assessed. If you’re close to the ocean, saltwater can corrode electrical equipment.
  1. Water can bring unwanted toxins and sediments into your home. Use a wet-dry vacuum or pressure washer - and think about having a professional cleaner or drying service tackle your home.
  1. Keep electrical tools away from wet surfaces by at least 10 feet. We know you’ll want to spruce up after the storm – but try to refrain from using electric equipment if your yard is still wet.

Make sure to visit ESFI.org for more information on electrical safety during floods.