News | September 18, 2018

Schneider Electric Recommends Precautions For Electrical Safety When Re-Entering Flooded Areas

Boston, MA /PRNewswire/ - Schneider Electric, the leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, is urging residents in North and South Carolina to heed electrical safety precautions to avoid electrocution hazards in the wake of catastrophic flooding from Hurricane Florence that caused widespread power outages.

"Our thoughts are with the people of North and South Carolina following this devastating storm," said Chad Kennedy, Director, Industry Standards, North America Operations, Schneider Electric. "As recovery begins, it's extremely important to understand the potential hazards posed by the mix of downed or damaged electrical wires and floodwater. If your neighborhood, building or home is flooded, avoid the area completely until you are positive power has been cut. Failure to do so could be a matter of life and death."

As home and business owners begin to assess the damage and begin the recovery process, they must take necessary precautions, including avoiding flooded areas completely and carefully inspecting their homes and buildings to check whether flooding has taken place before using any electrical system. Typical signs of flooding include standing water, floor and wall stains that indicate flooding, and appliances or electrical equipment that appear to have been exposed to water.

The following precautions are recommended to ensure personal safety, avoid costly damage to physical equipment and minimize the financial losses as residents return:

  • Do not enter a home or building where there is standing water inside until you are sure the main power is off.
  • If there's evidence of flooding and you're not sure if the main power has been turned off, do not attempt to turn it off. Contact an electrician or your 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.

For large business owners, Schneider Electric recommends these additional steps:

Wet Electrical Equipment

  • Electrical equipment that has been exposed to flood waters must be inspected by a licensed professional using instructions from the manufacturer and industry guidelines.
  • In general, most electrical equipment exposed to flood water will require replacement. There are exceptions to this rule for larger equipment, which may be reconditioned by trained factory service personnel.
  • Inspection personnel should contact the equipment manufacturer for direct guidance on the equipment evaluation.

Reusing Damaged Electrical Equipment

Attempting to reuse damaged electrical equipment by air drying, rinsing, cleaning, washing down, or pressure washing creates a significant safety hazard. Here's why:

  • Using abrasives to clean equipment may remove plating or other conductive surfaces within the equipment. Also, some compounds in cleaning agents can cause deterioration to certain portions of electrical equipment.
  • Contaminants and debris in the flood water can weaken the equipment insulation system. These represent potential hazards that may occur upon re-energization or even months afterwards.
  • All electrical equipment should be inspected carefully by a qualified electrical contractor to determine whether equipment should be replaced or repaired.
  • Lastly, if there are plans to connect a temporary power source such as a portable generator it is imperative that these connections be only performed by an electrical contractor. Improper generator connections can cause severe injury or death.

In all cases, if there is any doubt about the damage that has been done to a structure and its electrical systems by flooding, contact a local, licensed electrical contractor to evaluate its safety and protect life and property.

For additional information on electrical safety for homes and businesses following Hurricane Florence, please visit Schneider Electric's hurricane landing page.

About Schneider Electric  
Schneider Electric is leading the Digital Transformation of Energy Management and Automation in Homes, Buildings, Data Centers, Infrastructure and Industries. With global presence in over 100 countries, Schneider is the undisputable leader in Power Management – Medium Voltage, Low Voltage and Secure Power, and in Automation Systems. We provide integrated efficiency solutions, combining energy, automation and software. In our global Ecosystem, we collaborate with the largest Partner, Integrator and Developer Community on our Open Platform to deliver real-time control and operational efficiency. We believe that great people and partners make Schneider a great company and that our commitment to Innovation, Diversity and Sustainability ensures that Life Is On everywhere, for everyone and at every moment.

SOURCE: Schneider Electric

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