Hurricane Irene: Tips For Handling Flooded Basements and Downed Wires
By Ellen Cannon
As Hurricane Irene continues to slam the east coast many basements will become flooded. This can pose a genuine safety risk. Basic steps you can take to help ensure your safety from flooding include:
(1)Once the hurricane subsides, be very cautious when approaching the basement. IT IS VERY DANGEROUS TO ENTER THE WATER IN A FLOODED BASEMENT: BE CAREFUL.
(2)If customers lose electricity and their basement is flooded, notify Public Safety and Emergency Services in your area. A basic phone number is 1-800-436-7734. You can also call the FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA for further directions or visit their website at www.ready.govfor additional immediate phone numbers to call in your local area. Once the storm subsides, call your local fire department to assist in having the basement pumped. Be patient as the fire department will be very engaged in your area.
(3)Stay away from the breaker box if it is a flooded basement.
(4)Do not go into a flooded basement if energized wires are present
(5)If water is rising to the height of any gas appliance, the gas supply to the appliance should be turned off.
(6) Call public safety immediately if you smell gas.
(7) Call public safety or the fire department once the storm subsides if you are unable to shut your basement appliances off
(8)Once storm subsides, have appliances in basement checked for safety and proper operation.
(9) Do not call 911 unless life threatening environment has developed. Call 311 for assistance in major metropolitan areas. If you cannot get through using cell phone, text or twitter may be more useful.
DOWN POWER LINES:Heavy rains and strong winds will result in power lines coming down in many areas. The following information can assist you: (1) STAY AWAY FROM ALL DOWNED LINES. Downed wires may appear dead but should always be considered “live”; (2) Do not approach or drive over a downed line; (3) Do not touch anything that the downed power line might be in contact with; (4) Parents are urged to check for downed wires in areas when their children might play and to remind the children to stay away from any wires; (5) If a wire falls on a vehicle, it is recommended by FEMA and public safety officials, to stay in the vehicle until help arrives; (6) report all downed wires and their location local police and fire departments.
For further information go to:www.ready.gov; www.redcross.org; www.fema.gov.