Help Prevent Tragedies by Preparing for Disaster

Help Prevent Tragedies by Preparing for Disaster
22 Sep 2016

By David Brender, National Program Manager for Electrical Applications, Copper Development Association

Despite what meteorologists say, Mother Nature is unpredictable and tragedies tend to occur when communities, government officials and business owners least expect it. The best way to ensure disaster does not strike is to be prepared. With September being National Preparedness Month, it is a great time for property owners and facility managers to have their electrical wiring and equipment inspected for possible damage and to ensure they have proper grounding and bonding in place.

Earlier this month while much of the U.S. was barbecuing and sunbathing, Floridians were hunkered down in dry areas flooding-2-low-resas Hurricane Hermine, the first hurricane to hit Florida in a decade, made landfall during Labor Day weekend. And just a month before, rainfall lead to extreme flooding in southern parts of Louisiana, causing many to lose their homes and businesses.

Although the worst seems to be over for Louisiana and the communities hit by Hermine, water damage to electrical systems may cause extremely dangerous after effects. Waterlogged electrical equipment can cause power outages and, even worse, fires.

  • In most cases, water-immersed wiring and electrical equipment in a building should be inspected and possibly replaced by an electrical professional. This is especially true if the water contains salt or chemicals.
  • It is also important that the manufacturer be contacted for specific guidance if the equipment is being considered for reconditioning.
  • Damaged insulation, although not usually visible, can lead to shorts and arcs, which can in turn cause a fire.

lightning-2-low-resIn addition to storms causing flooding, lightning strikes can produce serious problems for communication centers. Uptime is not optional for communication facilities, especially emergency responders. Yet unless building and facility managers take the necessary steps, response systems often fail when lightning strikes. Improper electrical grounding and bonding can cause expensive equipment failures that can take vital emergency communication systems offline.

The best way to safeguard against electrical hazards is to have a professional electrician install, inspect and — if necessary — upgrade your wiring. After all, it has been said you don’t get what you expect; you only get what you inspect. For more information on how to be prepared for disasters visit CDA’s Building Wire section.

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