Over the past few years, news reports showing the devastating effects of flooding have become an all too familiar sight across the UK. More and more regions are being affected leaving thousands watching weather reports with trepidation, hoping for rain to abate as rivers break their banks and flood defenses fail.
Homes are evacuated, businesses are closed and those affected are left struggling to cope with the losses suffered when they return to face the wreckage left in a flood’s wake.
But unless you’ve experienced flooding first-hand, it’s difficult to comprehend how far-reaching the effects can be. You might consider the damage flood waters will cause to furniture, possessions, business stock, and fixtures and fittings – but would you have thought about electrics?
Although we all know that electricity and water don’t mix, it isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind when flood waters rise.
Electricity can pose a significant danger both during and after flooding and, the truth is, even after floods have subsided and the clean-up operation is complete, homes and businesses can’t get back to normality because electrical safety has been compromised.
There are measures that can be taken, however – before, during, and after a flood, to safeguard against the potential danger flooding can cause.
Here is our advice:
Before a flood
If you are aware that your home or business premises are within a flood-risk area, it’s worth getting an electrical expert to survey your property before there is an imminent threat of flooding. There may be preventative measures that can be taken to ensure your property’s electrics are protected, such as raising low-level sockets and repositioning your electrical distribution board and cabling.
As soon as a flood threat is issued, unplug and move all portable electrical appliances. Moving them upstairs temporarily would be a sensible precaution.
For larger appliances that cannot realistically be moved, such as fridges, washing machines, and ovens in a home environment or machinery in a business, make sure they are unplugged and raise the plug off the floor as far as possible.
Prepare a contact sheet with helpful telephone numbers you might need in an emergency – make sure this includes your electricity supplier’s emergency line and a trusted electrical contractor who offer an emergency response.
During a flood
If flooding occurs around your property, turn off your electricity supply at your fuse box before the water enters the property. If you are unsure how to do this, or whether it is safe to do this, contact your electricity supplier or an electrician for advice.
If water enters the property – avoid touching any electrical appliances, switches, or cables. Even if you think the electricity has been switched off, never assume anything electrical is safe. Touching electrical equipment that has come into contact with water, or while you are standing in water, carries a risk of electrocution.
After a flood
If your home or business premises have flooded, treat all electrical equipment as dangerous until it has been checked. Under no circumstances should you attempt to switch on anything electrical until it has been deemed safe by an electrician.
Call your electricity supplier to see if they offer safety visits to check your meter and main fuse.
Make sure your internal wiring is checked by a qualified electrician before you turn anything back on.
If you would like further advice or to book a survey to assess possible preventative measures for a flood-risk property, contact NLT Electrical on 01827 767100.