Natural disasters, such as wildfires, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, and floods, can strike without warning, leaving us vulnerable and in need of quick, informed action. One of the most crucial aspects of emergency preparedness is understanding the potential dangers that come with these disasters, and taking steps to mitigate risks to ourselves, our families, and our communities. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the importance of being informed and prepared, focusing on key safety measures to consider during a disaster, particularly when dealing with power loss, fallen power lines, and/or storm damage.
Turn Off the Main Breaker Switch Before Using a Generator
Generators can be lifesavers during power outages, ensuring that you have access to essential appliances and electronics. However, it’s vital to remember a crucial safety step before connecting your generator: turn off the main breaker switch. This simple action prevents back-feed, which can inadvertently energize fallen power lines. By energizing these lines, you create a potential electrocution hazard for both utility workers and your neighbors. Always prioritize safety by following manufacturer instructions and ensuring that your generator is properly connected.
It is also important to ensure that your generator is running in an outdoor, well ventilated area that is away from any doors, windows, or vents that could allow carbon monoxide inside your home or business.
For additional generator safety information, please visit the American Red Cross.
Avoid Fallen Wires
In the aftermath of a natural disaster, it’s not uncommon to encounter fallen wires. Regardless of their appearance, whether insulated or bare, it’s crucial to assume that these wires are energized. High voltage lines, which may resemble guy wires, are often not insulated and can pose a serious threat. Even guy wires can become energized by nearby power lines. Additionally, cable and phone lines might be energized by power lines, leading to severe injuries or even fatalities. Never touch, drive over, or go near fallen lines. Beware of storm debris, as it may be hiding energized lines. Also, beware of metal fencing and standing water which may be in contact with downed lines.
Maintaining a safe distance is your best defense against potential hazards. It is important to alert your local power company and emergency services of any nearby fallen wires.
Leave Tree Removal to the Professionals
When dealing with fallen trees or tree debris, exercise extreme caution and resist the urge to take matters into your own hands. Fallen trees, especially those that are twisted or compromised, can store massive amounts of energy and behave unpredictably. Attempting to cut or remove them without proper training and equipment is extremely dangerous. Instead, be patient and wait for qualified and properly equipped professionals to handle the hazardous tree removal. Your safety and the safety of those around you should always be the top priority.
In conclusion, emergency preparedness is not just about stockpiling supplies or having a plan in place; it’s about understanding the unique dangers that natural disasters can pose and taking proactive steps to minimize risks. When facing natural disasters and other emergencies, turning off the main breaker switch before using a generator, treating all fallen wires as energized, and leaving tree removal to qualified professionals are essential safety measures to keep in mind.
By following these guidelines and staying informed about best practices for disaster response, you can better protect yourself and your loved ones. Remember, safety is a collective effort, and each action you take contributes to the well-being of your community during times of crisis. Stay safe, stay informed, and be prepared.