Super storm Sandy may be gone in many areas, but there are still potential hazards to watch for in its aftermath. It could take weeks to restore power to millions of people left in the dark by the super storm.
Hurricanes are often packed with high winds. These winds, combined with flooding rains, can reap chaos on power lines and their target distribution audience throughout the affected area.
Power lines that provide safe and efficient electrical power to your home every day can become highly dangerous if downed during a storm. Whether the power to your house is on and functioning either during or after the hurricane passes, beware of power lines if you venture out. Avoid them because they may still be live and report them to the power company.
In many areas the power poles are shared among utility, cable and telephone companies. Be aware that downed electrical lines in your area can energize other lines as well. These affected downed lines are wet, even non-conductive materials such as pieces of wood can become a path for electricity. Metal security fences suddenly can be electrified fences and can be deadly. Same goes with metal buildings, fences, poles, mail boxes and standing water. Downed and sagging power lines offer dangers from nearby trees and branches. These wet trees can become the path to the ground through you for electrical current.
If the city is already going through a series of harsh weather or storms, then it’s best to never drive around during or immediately after. If you must drive for some emergency purposes, such as to evacuate, then be watchful for downed power lines, tree limbs and general blockages in the road. Never drive over a downed line with your car. If the car has made contact, your car could become energized. It is better to remain in your car. You can also use a cell phone to dial 911.
Even though the power lines are down and the power is out, don’t think that it is safe to move a downed line. These power lines could become re-energized at any time. Instead, assume that they are live and that electrocution dangers still exist.
After a storm with heavy winds, the area will likely be covered with tree branches and litter. Power lines have a way of getting entangled in these branches and can become a serious hazard for the person trimming the branches. So please watch out for the power lines while clearing debris or litter and take a good look around your surroundings before attempting any clean-up.
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