ANDOVER, Mass., Sept. 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management and automation, urges residents of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina to take three steps to prepare electrical equipment in homes and businesses to ensure safety and minimize damage in advance of Hurricane Irma.
Those in the path of the storm should first monitor their local radio or TV stations for updated emergency information, follow the instructions of state and local officials, know their evacuation zones, and evacuate promptly if an evacuation is ordered.
Costly damage to residential or commercial electrical systems can be reduced, while ensuring human safety by following three important steps while preparing homes and businesses for the oncoming storm:
- Before evacuating, unplug all cord and plug loads such as appliances and electrically-powered equipment. Where possible, move these items out of the expected flood level and turn off the main power. Business owners may need to contact the building maintenance staff if access to the main power is controlled.
- If you have a permanently installed onsite generator, verify the fuel level and test it before the storm to ensure functionality. Portable generators can be connected only where the appropriate safety interlocking has been installed by a licensed electrician. Since portable generators are a potential source of carbon monoxide poisoning, it is important that you have a battery-operated carbon monoxide alarm and that you verify that it works before using a generator. Business owners should also have current electrical system diagrams and equipment documentation handy, along with any critical spare parts should they be needed to speed the recovery process.
- Business owners desiring the quickest path to recovery should implement or re-examine an electrical emergency action plan, which includes identifying critical functions essential to efficiently and safely restore power.
"We've seen the devastating effects of storm-related flooding and water damage, most recently with Hurricane Harvey in Texas," said Chad Kennedy, Industry Standards Manager, Power Equipment, Schneider Electric. "As residents prepare for Irma, a level of awareness of electrical safety and basic precautions ahead of evacuations can ensure that recovery can happen more quickly, losses will be mitigated, and most importantly, people will be safe upon return to their homes and businesses after the storm."
Following the storm, residents, rescuers and others in the area should take additional precautions, including:
- Do not enter a home or building where there is standing water inside until it is confirmed that the main power is shut off.
- If there is evidence of flooding but it is difficult to determine if the main power has been turned off, do not attempt to turn it off. Contact an electrician or the local electric utility for assistance. The electrical system should be inspected prior to restoring power.
- 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, do not turn on the main power. Immediately unplug all items in the area and contact an electrician.
While ensuring human safety is the top priority in any natural disaster, damage to property and electrical equipment can also be devastating for business and home owners. For more information on electrical safety in advance of and in the wake of the storm, please visit Schneider Electric's hurricane landing page.
About Schneider Electric
Schneider Electric is the global specialist in energy management and automation. With revenues of $26 billion US (25 billion euros) in FY2016, our 144,000+ employees serve customers in over 100 countries, helping them to manage their energy and process in ways that are safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable. From the simplest of switches to complex operational systems, our technology, software and services improve the way our customers manage and automate their operations. Our connected technologies reshape industries, transform cities and enrich lives. At Schneider Electric, we call this Life Is On.
SOURCE Schneider Electric