Although Northcentral Wisconsin is no stranger to threatening summer weather, you may be unaware of unsafe practices that can lead to hazardous conditions during and after a storm or tornado. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) lists four deadly hazards related with storms.
Fires in the home
In order to avoid the possibility of starting a fire in your home, the CPSC recommends using battery-powered lanterns or flashlights in the event of a power outage. Candles can easily be tipped over, or may be forgotten and left burning, when your family is coping with bad weather — and this poses a fire hazard.
Downed power wires are very dangerous and easily hidden from view. After a storm, be very cautious when you head outdoors as you may not see downed wires that could be hidden in fallen trees and debris. To keep your family safe, be certain no one goes near a downed wire and do not touch any items that may be touching a downed wire (such as a car, a tree, etc.). If there is standing water in your home, do not step in any water that is covering an electrical outlet or is near electrical equipment. In addition, do not use any electrical appliances that were exposed to water as there is a risk of shock. It’s best to have these appliances inspected by a technician prior to using them again.
Carbon monoxide poisoning
If you use a portable generator during a power outage, be certain the generator is used outside of the house and is at least 20’ away from windows, doors or vents in order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Be certain to only use undamaged, outdoor extension cords with portable generators.
In the event that you smell or hear gas leaking during or after a storm, do not turn the lights on or off, do not use any electrical equipment and do not use a phone. It’s best to immediately leave the area with your family and call 911. Do not re-enter your home until the authorities have indicated it is safe to do so. If a gas appliance or gas tank/cylinder is exposed to water, or is under water, due to a storm — have the appliance/tank checked by a professional to be certain the item is not damaged.