Keep Industrial Electricals Safe After a Flood

 In Blog, Electrical Services, Workplace Safety

Central and Southern U.S. states have been hit hard by flooding this winter. Missouri has been particularly affected. After a business has been inundated by floodwaters, it’s natural to want to start the cleanup and get things up and running as soon as possible.

Before beginning repairs, make sure employees understand safety procedures for dealing with water-damaged electricals. Your facility will need the expertise of an industrial electrician before it’s safe to conduct business as usual.

Here is some additional information to keep your staff safe during and after a flood.

Watch for Downed Power Lines

Beware of downed power lines and other compromised electricals around the exterior of your facility. Do not touch power lines and maintain a safe distance from them. Electricals can energize water, creating a lethal threat to people and animals. Don’t touch metal objects that are submerged or partially submerged. These include light poles, road signs and fences.

Remove Electrical Meters From Flooded Buildings

An electrician measures the power at an industrial electrical panel.

An industrial electrician should inspect your facilities after a flood.

Never enter a flooded area of a building before the power is disconnected by an electrician. This applies to any type of structure, including factories, businesses and homes. If the power is out, it is still possible for people to get electrocuted if a generator is running nearby and electricity is being fed into a damaged grid. Contact an electrician or the utility company to have the building’s electrical meter removed.

Until the meter is disconnected, it’s not safe for anyone to enter a flood-damaged area even if the water has been pumped out. Circuit breakers and disconnect switches may malfunction after a flood, so don’t rely on them to shut off power.

Don’t Enter a Flooded Area Alone

Avoid entering flooded areas even after the electrical meter has been removed. If it’s essential for workers to go into an area with high water, they should work in pairs. A flooded, dark building is dangerous. Floors will be slippery. Hazards could be hidden under the water. Workers wading into water can easily get into situations where they need help.

Inspect Electrical Equipment Before Use

Once the waters recede, it’s time to start evaluating the damage. Much of your business’s electrical equipment could be either damaged or ruined. Hire an electrician to inspect your facility before using any electricals. Some equipment can be reconditioned by an electrician. Others may need to be replaced.

The following items will need to be evaluated after a flood:

  • circuit breakers, fuses, electrical wiring
  • light switches, thermostats, outlets, light fixtures
  • heaters, furnaces, heat pumps and other HVAC systems
  • hot water tanks, non-submersible pumps
  • vacuums, power tools, appliances, motors
  • computers and other electronic equipment

After a flood, an electrician will need to survey your building’s entire electrical system. A facility’s grounding and bonding capabilities can be damaged by flooding. Grounding that works properly ensures an electrical current will safely go to ground in the event that something goes wrong with the wiring.

Storee’s industrial electricians can see that your business’s electricals are functioning safely and efficiently after a flood. In addition, we can advise you on how to make your facility safer during normal operations and in the event of a natural disaster.