Electrical Hazards

Electrical power lines and circuits may have been damaged in a disaster, so look out for fallen wires and take caution when moving about. If a power line falls on your car while driving, stay inside and drive away from the line. Avoid touching any metal or wet object. Be especially cautious of stepping into water, because live electrical lines may have fallen into water and created an electric shock hazard. If possible and safe, turn off the breaker or remove the fuses in your home when your power is out, especially before connecting a generator to your home’s circuit. 

Gasoline or diesel-powered generators must be installed and used correctly. If it is necessary to connect a generator to house wiring, have a qualified electrician install appropriate equipment such as an approved automatic interrupt device to prevent a possible fire in the event that your power is suddenly restored while operating the generator. It would be preferable to have the interrupt device installed prior to the disaster, when resources and trained electricians are widely available. Check the generator’s maximum amperage load and do not exceed it. Always place these generators outside and away from the structure to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you use a portable generator for electricity, to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and fires, do not use portable generators inside your house or garage; on balconies; or near doors, vents, or windows. Be sure to place the generator outside and at least 20 feet away from buildings or other structures that people occupy. Never refuel a generator while it is hot.

Additional guidance for homeowners and small business owners is provided at: 

Sources of technical guidance for the industrial hygienist include: