Living in the Red River Valley means that serious flooding can, and does indeed occur. Being prepared for, and responding safetly during and after a flood, can make a big difference in the impact a flood will have on you and your home. In any flood situation, electrical safety is of extreme importance.
How to Prepare for Electrical Safety During a Flood
- Have your emergency kit ready.
- Make sure your electric circuit breakers, or fuses, are clearly marked for each area of your home.
- Turn off electricity at the main breaker box, or fuse box, only if you don't have to step in water or stand on a wet floor to do it. Turn off your main breaker; then flip each circuit breaker to off. Or pull out your main fuse; then take out each circuit fuse.
- Unplug small appliances, but never unplug or disconnect an electrical appliance if you have to stand in water, or on a damp floor, to do it.
- If there is no water where your large appliances are located, unplug appliances such as washers and dryers and move them to higher ground if needed, or put them on blocks, making sure they won't vibrate off the blocks when used.
- Put plugs in toilets, showers, sinks, or other drains to prevent sewer back-up.
- Make sure your sump pump is working and consider having a back-up.
- Consider having a back-up generator in case the power goes out.
Electrical Safety During a Flood Emergency
- Don't go into a basement, or any room, if water covers cords that are plugged in, or if water covers the electrical outlets!
- Stay out of a basement, or any room, if you hear buzzing, snapping, crackling, or popping noises, or see sparks! Stay out of water that may have electricity in it!
- If it looks like your main electrical box, or meter, will be covered with water, call an electrician or Moorhead Public Service (MPS) immediately!
- Do not flush toilets, take showers, or use water, unless absolutely necessary. This will decrease the burden on sewer lift stations.
- Stay away from green electrical boxes, electrical appliances, or electrical equipment, that have water around them!
- Keep children away from indoor and outdoor electrical appliances and electrical equipment in flooded areas!
- Call MPS or Moorhead Police immediately if you see any broken power lines!
Electrical Safety After a Flood
- Watch for live electrical wires that may have broken off outside. Report them to Moorhead Public Service (MPS) or the Moorhead Police Department immediately if you see any broken power lines.
- Before entering a home or basement that has been flooded, make sure the electrical system has been turned off. If it has not been turned off, contact a qualified electrician or MPS to shut off the power.
- Do not turn on any lights or appliances until an electrician has checked your system.
- If your furnace was flooded, have it inspected by a qualified electrician. Before operating, the system may need to be cleaned, dried, and reconditioned.
- ONLY IF YOUR POWER IS TURNED OFF: When the water recedes, take covers off outlets and unplug appliances to let them dry out for several days. Clean outlets and switches.
- ONLY IF YOUR POWER IS TURNED OFF: Thoroughly clean and dry out unplugged appliances. Have a qualified technician check them before you use them.
- ONLY IF YOUR POWER IS TURNED OFF: Dry out light fixtures and lamps. Then take them apart and clean them. Replace lamp cords and plugs.
- All wet motors should be dried, cleaned, and inspected by a qualified electrician before you use them.
- Have an electrician check your wiring to make sure it's safe. This must be done if the main breaker box, or fuse box, got wet.
- If your home has been flooded, when water recedes, all boxes, switches, outlets, etc., must be dried, cleaned, and tested by a qualified electrician. Only then can power be turned back on, circuit by circuit.
Your emergency kit
- First Aid kit
- Battery-operated radio
- Extra batteries
- Waterproof boots or waders
- Boots or shoes with hard soles
- Dry wooden stick (to flip circuit breakers or fuses)
- Rubber gloves
- Necessary prescription medications
For electrical emergencies during regular business hours, call 477-8000.
For electrical emergencies after-hours, call MPS at 477.8081.