Utility tips for residents during flooding

Written by witf | Oct 11, 2013 1:34 PM

Flooded Conewago Creek in Warrington Township

As rainfalls amounts continue to accumulate throughout the state, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) is providing tips on how to deal with utility issues for those residents experiencing flooding.

Downed power lines

  • Don’t touch or get near any fallen lines.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 30 feet from downed wires and anything they are in contact with, such as puddles of water, wet lawns and fences. Electricity can travel through the ground.
  • Keep pets inside.
  • Notify the utility company.
  • Never try to remove trees or limbs from power lines.

Flooding and electric power

  • Avoid downed utility lines and standing water because “hot wires” could exist below the water line. Water-soaked lawns also can conduct electricity.
  • If your home has sustained flood or water damage, and you can safely get to the main breaker or fuse box, turn off the power.
  • Do not turn off the power if you are wet or standing in water.
  • If electrical service has not been disconnected at the home, avoid standing water, again there may be some live wires below the water line.
  • Submerged fuse boxes and all of their contents should be inspected by an electrician.
  • It is best to have your electric system inspected by a licensed electrician before turning it back on.

Flooding and natural gas safety

  • If your house has flooded and any of your natural gas appliances (including furnaces, boilers, water heaters and dryers) have been affected, they may not be safe to use. Contact the gas company, a licensed gas technician or HVAC contractor for an inspection.
  • If you smell gas, or if flood waters have risen above your gas meter and regulator set, call 911 or your gas company immediately.

Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania offers the following advice for natural gas safety:

  • Columbia advises customers to leave their main natural gas service valve turned on.
  • Customers who expect, or have already experienced, flooding or damage to their natural gas appliances and equipment should turn off the gas service at the valve located on each natural gas appliance.
  • Do not turn off natural gas service at the valve located on the meter.

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