Safety: Outage

Safety Tips --Water Damage To Electrical

If you think your home may have water damage -- from roof leaks or flood waters that have receded -- Berkeley has the following important safety tips:

  • Watch for downed wires when you approach your home. Consider all lines energized and call Berkeley if you see a live "sparking" power line.
  • Once inside, disconnect all electrical appliances that are still plugged in. Use caution. Do not stand in water when operating switches, plugging in or unplugging electrical cords.
  • When resetting circuit breakers, wear dry, rubber soled shoes and stand on something dry and non-conductive, such as a dry piece of wood or wooden furniture.
  • Use only one hand, and reset the breaker switches with a dry wooden tool. Do not make contact with the metal breaker box or other grounded objects in the area. If the breakers will not reset or they continue to trip, call a licensed electrician. This condition might indicate a short-circuit in your electrical system.
  • If you had no problem resetting the circuit breakers, you will still want to check your appliances for water damage and make sure all cords are dry before you attempt to re-plug electrical appliances into wall sockets.
  • If, after plugging in an appliance, the breakers trip (or fuse blows) or you see smoke or smell a burning odor, shut off power at the circuit breaker and have the appliance checked by a qualified appliance serviceman.

Be very careful around all electrical wires and equipment. If you have any doubts about your home electrical system or are unsure of how to proceed, call a professional, licensed electrician.

Safety Tips -- Generator Safety

If you plan to use a portable generator, here are some important safety precautions:

  • First, locate your generator in a well-ventilated area. Never run it inside, even in your garage. Gasoline-powered generators produce carbon monoxide and the fumes can be deadly.
  • Second, plug appliances directly into the generator using heavy duty, properly grounded extension cords. Make sure that extension cords are not frayed or worn. Do not connect your power generator directly to your home's main fuse box or circuit panel. Limit the number of appliances you use to no more than the recommended wattage of the generator.
  • Read all instructions carefully and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Use the generator only when necessary, and don't overload it. Turn it off at night while you sleep and when you are away from home, to avoid possible fire hazard.

For your safety…the safety of neighbors and the safety of Berkeley Electric employees working to restore electricity do not attempt to connect your generator to your home wiring.

If you have any doubts about how to properly use a portable electric generator, contact the manufacturer or a licensed electrician for assistance.

Safety Tips -- Weatherhead Inspection

According to Berkeley Electric, there's something you can do to determine if your home is ready to receive power when crews arrive…or if you need to call an electrician for repairs ahead of time:

  • If your home is served by overhead power lines, look at the metal pipe above your electric meter where the power line is or would connect to your house. This is called the weatherhead and it is part of your home wiring system. If you see any damage to the weatherhead, to the pipe that carries the wire down to the meter, or to the meter can that surrounds the meter, you may need to call a licensed electrician.
  • If your home is served by underground lines, look at the metal meter box and the pipe that extends down into the ground. Again, if you see any damage, you may need to call a licensed electrician.
  • If there is damage to the meter itself, utility crews from Berkeley Electric will repair or replace it.
    Make your visual inspection carefully. Do not touch any electrical equipment or lines around the electrical equipment. If the weatherhead appears bent or loose, the electrician will make a closer inspection and repairs, since Berkeley Electric crews are not permitted to work on home wiring systems. Please be careful around all electrical wires and equipment.

Be sure to download a copy of our Storm Safety Brochure