We are extremely blessed to be able to enjoy safe, reliable electricity with few problems and almost perfect uptime. However, no electrical system is completely safe, and that means problems can and do emerge from time to time. The worst problems can create some serious emergencies—dire situations that demand the response in a short amount of time. Do you know what to do when an emergency happens? Here are three common emergencies and what you should do in the aftermath to keep yourself and your home safe.
Downed Power Line
Power lines are designed to remain suspended above our streets and over our heads safely and securely through virtually any situation. However, they don’t always stay there. Power lines can be damaged by severe weather, or by negligence, such as a driver who accidentally hits a power pole due to intoxication or not paying attention. When a power line falls to the ground, it creates a dangerous situation that absolutely constitutes an electrical emergency.
A downed power line may very well cause your power to go out, but that doesn’t mean the line itself will no longer be active. In fact, downed lines often remain live, and their high voltage is extremely dangerous to be around. If you see a downed power line, do not hesitate to call 911 to report it. Under no circumstances should you or anyone in your household handle the line (unless you’re a trained electrical line technician with the proper safety equipment). Keep all children and pets away from the area. If the downed line falls on your property, leave your home immediately but stay as far away from the line as possible.
Emergency services should arrive shortly to clear the area and keep people away from the dangerous line. From there, the electric company should arrive, shut the line off at the nearest point where they can do so, and then work to properly fix and re-suspend the line so it can be activated safely once again.
Here in the Atlanta area, we are no stranger to severe weather and some pretty nasty storms. These storms can include high winds, pounding rain, and hail that can cause even the most robust electrical system to fail, and the power to go out when they do. During the middle of a storm, particularly a lightning storm, electrical crews likely do not have the ability to go out and immediately repair the electrical system, and that means you may have to be prepared to be without electricity for a little bit.
During a storm, we recommend unplugging all major appliances and important devices, especially if you do not have a whole-home surge protection system installed. We also recommend having a supply of flashlights available (one for each person in your home), and a supply of fresh batteries.
When the power goes out, immediately unplug anything still plugged in throughout your home. It’s actually not all that uncommon for the power to surge when it comes back on, and that could cause damage to anything connected to your electrical system. We also recommend unplugging everything during a lightning storm, as a lightning strike on a power line could result in a surge through your electrical system, even during a power outage.
Power surges are extremely dangerous emergencies that can happen in the blink of an eye. A sudden surge of voltage flowing through your lines can blow out critical components, resulting in irreparable damage to virtually every part of your electrical system, and everything plugged into it as well. This is why you need to react fast when a surge impacts your home.
However, what you can do in the aftermath of a surge is limited. First and foremost, do not touch anything plugged in when the surge hit. Power surges can cause wires to overheat and melt, resulting in burning or fires. However, in order for wires to get hot enough to melt, they have to reach hundreds or even thousands of degrees Fahrenheit. While a wire might look safe to the eyes, it might actually be extremely hot, resulting in injuries. Instead, leave immediately and give the various wires and components time to cool. Once it’s safe to re-enter your home, unplug everything that was plugged in at the time. Then, reset your main circuit breaker panel to try and re-power your home. This should allow you to assess the damage to your home and learn what needs to be repaired. We do not recommend you try to plug into or use any part of your electrical system that shows visible signs of damage, such as burning or melting.If your home suffers a serious emergency and you need a high-quality, professional repair, call Lightning Bug Electric at (404) 471-3847 today!