Storm Season: How to be Safe
Summer showers can bring more than just flowers. In the case of a severe storm, such as a tornado or thunderstorm, many South Central Indiana residents may be unaware of safe electricity practices, as well as what to do in certain situations such as encountering a downed power line. Therefore, it is important to be educated on safe electricity practices.
1. Downed Power Lines
It is not uncommon to come upon a downed power line following a storm. However, what many people are unaware of is just how dangerous a downed power line can be. If you come in contact with one, follow these three steps: stay away, warn others to stay away, and contact your local electric cooperative. This goes for any type of power line, including telephone or cable wires.
“It is vital that area residents are mindful of downed power lines and the sort of situations that can be created by coming into contact with one. We’re always available to answer member questions and are eager to help out whenever necessary,” said Maura Giles, Manager of Cooperative Relations for SCI REMC.
Additionally, downed power lines can energize things around it, such as chain link fences. If you encounter a downed power line while driving, stay in the car! Never drive over a downed power line — poles or other equipment could come crashing down. If you come in contact with a downed power line, or are unsure of what to do, please contact SCI REMC.
Heavy rain can cause flooding in homes, basements and other low areas, creating potential electrical hazards. If energized electrical equipment meets water, there is a serious danger of electrocution. Children should also be made aware of these possible situations.
Never drive into floodwaters, never walk in a flooded basement that may have been in contact with electrical outlets and keep electrical tools and equipment at least 10 feet away from wet surfaces.
3. Lightning Safety
While situations involving lightning can be very dangerous, as well as potentially fatal, they are avoidable. First and foremost, it is important for individuals to recognize that there is no safe place from lightning when outside. Whenever a storm begins, go inside to avoid potential dangers.
Lightning can strike several miles ahead of a storm. If you are outside and hear thunder, it is important to seek shelter. Thunder indicates lightning is within 10 miles of you. A safe shelter is defined as inside a building or metal-topped vehicle. Once inside, stay off corded telephones and away from electrical devices that may carry an electrical surge if lightning were to be carried inside your home through wiring.
“Unlike when a person is electrocuted by a power line, if a person is struck by lightning, others nearby will not be electrocuted by the victim. Seek medical attention for the person and care for them as instructed,” said Giles.
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