As Hurricane Florence approaches the East Coast, Schneider Electric urges those in the U.S. Southeast to take three essential steps to prepare electrical equipment in homes and businesses to ensure safety and minimize damage. Rapidly gaining strength, the storm is forecasted to become a strong Category 4 and is expected to reach the Southeast region by Thursday.
Those in the path of the storm should first monitor their local radio or TV stations for updated emergency information, follow the instructions of state and local officials, know their evacuation zones, and evacuate promptly if an evacuation is ordered.
Costly damage to residential or commercial electrical systems can be minimized or avoided, while ensuring human safety by following three important steps while preparing homes and businesses for the oncoming storm:
- Before evacuating, unplug all appliances and turn off main power sources and all electrically-powered equipment. If you do not have access to the main power, contact an electrician or your electric utility to assist.
- If you have an onsite generator, test it before the storm to ensure functionality, but ensure that you have a battery-operated carbon monoxide alarm prior to the storm and that it works before using a generator. You should also have current product diagrams and equipment documentation handy, along with any critical spare parts should they be needed upon return to your home or business.
- Business owners should re-examine and implement an electrical emergency action plan, which includes identifying critical functions essential to efficiently and safely restore power.
Following the storm, residents, rescuers, and others in the area should take additional precautions, including:
- Do not enter a home or building where there is standing water inside until it is confirmed that the main power is shut off.
- If there is evidence of flooding but it is difficult to determine if the main power has been turned off, do not attempt to turn it off. Contact an electrician or the local electric utility.
- Locate the main panel to see if any circuit breakers or fuses have tripped if there is no electricity upon return.
- If there are any signs of smoke, fire or water damage near electrical outlets, immediately unplug all items in the area and contact an electrician or your electric utility.
“Following the devastating outcomes of last year’s superstorms, we know how critical it is to be prepared and want to educate the public on proactive steps they can take,” said Richard Korthauer, Vice President, Final Distribution Business, Schneider Electric. “As the Southeast and mid-Atlantic prepares for Florence, a few basic precautions ahead of evacuations can mitigate losses, support a faster recovery and, most importantly, help keep residents safe upon returning to their homes and businesses after the storm.”
While ensuring human safety is the top priority in any natural disaster, damage to property and electrical equipment can also be devastating for business and home owners. For more information on electrical safety in advance of and in the wake of the storm, visit Schneider Electric’s hurricane landing page.