Electrical Safety Council Advice: Where to start once the flood water has gone, do’s and dont’s

These simple do’s and dont’s are some immediate actions people should take/can take once the flood water has subsided. The leaflet can be downloaded from the ESC website and it has been prepared by the Electrical Safety Council to help members of the public who have had the misfortune to experience a flood or water damage in their homes. The primary concern is with possible dangers associated with the electrics in the property, but the article also contains some other useful guidance which we hope you will find helpful, such as:

When the Flood Waters Subside – Do

  • Make sure the property is safe before you enter;
  • Try to avoid direct contact with any flood water which remains, as it may be contaminated;
  • Be prepared: have a torch at hand when entering the property and do not use candles;
  • Switch off the electricity supply at the fuse box, if it is safe to do so;
  • Arrange for other services, such as gas, to be turned off. The electricity and gas supplies should remain off until you are sure it is safe to turn them back on;
  • Contact your insurance company and, if applicable, your landlord, to tell them what has happened and to get advice and take instruction.

When the Flood Waters Subside – Don’t Do

  • Use candles to guide you when entering the property;
  • Use any mains powered electrical appliances in the areas affected by the flood until advised that it is safe to do so;
  • Go near any exposed wiring, as it may still be live;
  • Start to clean up or undertake repairs until you are sure it is safe to do so.

Clean up after the Waters Subside

  • Make sure that the area damaged by the flood is safe for the clean up and repairs to start;
  • Seek professional advice about the restoration of your property, before clean up commences;
  • For insurance purposes, take as many photos of the damage before you try to clean up and/or do any repair work and keep records;
  • Contact your other service providers, such as, telephone, cable TV, and intruder alarm companies if applicable;
  • Make sure you wear adequate protective clothing;
  • Unplug damaged electrical appliances and move all portable ones away from the area damaged by the flood.

Repairs after the Flood Waters Subside

  • Get approval from your insurance company and, if applicable, your landlord, to carry out any repairs;
  • Hire the services of appropriate and qualified professionals to undertake the repair work;
  • For the electrical wiring, equipment and appliances damaged by the flood, use a registered electrician to assess their condition and advise you of the action necessary to repair;
  • To find a registered electrician or to obtain information on testing your electrical equipment, call the Electrical Safety Council on: 0870 040 0561 or visit their website at www.esc.org.uk.

Electrical Safety Advice for After Flood

  • Do not attempt any electrical repairs or connection of temporary supplies yourself – always use a registered electrician;
  • Arrange for a Periodic Inspection Report to be carried out on the property by a registered electrician. This report will identify the condition of the wiring and equipment in need of repair;
  • Arrange for the registered electrician to test all the portable appliances affected by the flood to check that they are safe for continued use. Also arrange for a test of all fixed equipment, such as, electric cooker, storage heaters, boilers, etc;
  • If the water damage to electrics is relatively minor and caused by clean water, i.e. a burst water pipe or tank, then it is likely that a registered electrician will just need to dry out the cables and replace the water affected electrical accessories, such as, sockets, switches and plugs;
  • If there is major flood damage to the electrics caused by clean or contaminated water, i.e. sewage, then it is likely that a registered electrician will need to rewire the affected parts of the electrical installation;
  • When it is necessary to rewire the electrical installation, ask the electrician about the possibility of raising the height of the newly installed electrical equipment, including raising the fuse box and sockets to above any future expected flood level.

Fire & Rescue Assistance

The Fire and Rescue Services’ job is primarily to save lives, but they will assist in other ways in severe cases involving the evacuation process and helping to limit the amount of damage to property, wherever possible. If in any doubt, call the fire service for advice.

These advices were taken/ inspired from the ESC leaflet on Where To Start Once the Flood Water Has Gone (read the leaflet online). Read more Electrical Safety Tips.

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