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Electricity and Flood Smarts

Jeff Koeppel, K&B Electric LLC   June 18, 2015


All thunderstorms are dangerous, as every thunderstorm produces lightening. However, flash flooding is responsible for more fatalities, each year, than any other thunderstorm associated hazard.

Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States and can

happen anywhere, with only a few inches of flood water to submerging a home or business to the rooftop.

The Midwest is at greater risk of flooding in the spring and during heavy summer rains; however, flooding can also occur in the Midwest when excessive snowmelt cannot be fully absorbed into the ground, or when water containment systems break (levees, viaducts, parking structures, low roads and basements). Flood waters can recede within a few days to a few months.

Densely populated areas are a high risk for flash floods, filling basements, underpasses, viaducts, parking structures, and low roads. Flood waters can recede within a few days to a few months.

It is important to be prepared for flooding if you live and/or work in a low-lying area near a body of water, such as a river, stream, or culvert; along a coast; or downstream from a dam or levee. In such cases, it would be wise to have a licensed electrician raise electric components (switches, sockets, curcuit breakers and wiring) at least 12 inches above your home's (or business') projected flood elevation.

In the event of heavy rain storms (including tornados and winter ice storms) disconnect appliances and equipment well before the storm arrives to prevent electrical shock and to prevent overlaoding circuits should area electrical power need to be restored.

In the event of any flood alerts in your immediate area, the best action to protect yourself and your family is to evacuate before flooding starts as transportation routes, power, water, gas, and other services may be disrupted.

Know how to open your electric garage door, manually, as the normal open/close buttons won't work during a power outage. When leaving turn off electrical power, gas and water supplies. Watch for downed electrical power lines when leaving and again as you return. Do not enter your home or business if flood waters remain around the building

To learn whether you live, work, or travel through areas that are prone to flooding you can enter a specific address at https://msc.fema.gov/portal, then click on "View Map".

To find out what alerts are available in your area, do an Internet search with your town, city, or county name followed by the word "alerts".

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