Staying safe during a hurricane should be your first priority in hurricane preparedness, but many aren’t aware of the risks involved or rush to help others while endangering themselves. Electrocution can be a leading cause of death during a hurricane or major flood event because of downed power lines.
At Constellation, we know that when a major hurricane or storm hits, the effects can be severe and may lead to injury or death if certain precautions and safety tips aren’t followed. To help you and your loved ones stay safe during and after a storm, we’ve put the following hurricane safety tips together for both electricity and natural gas.
Hurricane Safety Tips for Electricity & Portable Generators
Unplug your appliances, electronics, and power cords from wall outlets to protect your technology from power surges. EEI.org recommends installing surge protectors to help safeguard valuable electronic equipment and to plug sensitive equipment into a separate, grounded circuit to isolate them from fluctuations caused when a major appliance, such as a refrigerator, restarts after a power outage.
If you anticipate potential flooding, disconnect all of your electronic devices, and listen carefully to local authorities in case you are instructed to turn off your electricity. If you’re told to turn off your electricity during a hurricane or storm, do so at the circuit breaker.
Tip:Safeelectricity.org recommends you keep your electronic devices at least 10 feet above what could potentially become a wet or flooded area.
If you do lose electricity in your home and aren’t flooded, a portable generator can be a good option to power small appliances. If this is something you are considering, it’s recommended you have a licensed electrician install it to make sure it’s operating correctly.
The improper use of portable generators can create a fire hazard, and worse, it could cause carbon monoxide poisoning and electrocution. ESFI recommends you install and test your home’s carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms to ensure they’re functioning properly before using a portable generator.
Never operate a portable generator inside of your home or in other partially or fully enclosed spaces, including your garage!
Hurricane Safety Tips for Natural Gas
Atlanta Gas Light recommends the following natural gas steps be taken during an emergency like a hurricane or major storm:
1. LOOK for discolored vegetation, blowing dirt or continued bubbling water in the area of a buried gas line.
2. LISTEN for a hissing sound.
3. SMELL for the distinctive “rotten egg” odor of natural gas.
If there is severe lightning consider unplugging your natural gas appliances to avoid electrical damage.