Stay safe after the storm

Check for electrical safety hazards before jumping into a post-storm clean-up job, like this farm yard that was hit by an EF4 tornado north of Bowdle, SD, in 2010.

Check for electrical safety hazards before starting post-storm clean-up, like at this family farm hit by an EF4 tornado near Bowdle, SD, in 2010.

After a long winter and a blessedly wet spring, a few rays of sunshine beckon us outdoors in a rush to plant fields and gardens, and clean up yards before the next spring thunderstorm chases us back indoors.

While you may be eager to clean up following a damaging summer storm or flood, electrical hazards abound. The month of May brings a reminder to slow down and be safe. May is Electrical Safety Month, and Basin Electric wants to share with you a few tips, courtesy SafeElectricity.org:

  • Before re-entering storm-damaged buildings or rooms, be sure all electric and gas services are turned off.
  • Never step into a flooded basement or other area if water is covering electrical outlets, appliances or cords. Be alert to any electrical equipment that could be energized and in contact with water. Never touch electrical appliances, cords or wires while you are wet or standing in water.
  • If using electric yard tools in clean-up efforts, do not operate them if it’s raining or the ground is wet, or while you are wet or standing in water. Keep all electric tools and equipment at least ten feet away from wet surfaces.
  • If the power to your home is out for a prolonged period, and you use a portable generator, be sure a transfer safety switch has been installed or connect the appliance(s) directly to the generator. This prevents back feed, which creates danger for anyone near lines, particularly crews working to restore power.
  • If you are driving and come upon a downed power line, stay in your vehicle, warn others to stay away and contact emergency personnel or the electric utility. Never drive over a downed line. A downed line causes other things around it to become potentially hazardous.

Still not convinced? Need a reminder of the dangers of electricity? Watch Basin Electric’s video featuring South Dakota electric cooperative linemen demonstrating electricity’s power.

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