A flooded basement is something that no homeowner wants to deal with. If the basement is finished, you’re facing destroyed furniture, flooring, drywall and personal items, plus weeks of nasty clean up and re-construction. Even with an unfinished basement a flood can be disastrous, ruining boxed items in storage and other effects. Not to mention the safety hazards that come into play when water and electricity come into contact with one another.

The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) offers some excellent tips for handling a flood situation in your home, with safety being the main objective. Take a look and be sure that everyone in your household is aware of the right moves in the event of a flood.

If a flood is probable but has not yet occurred and you have to leave your home:

1. Disconnect the power to your home by ensuring that the main switch by your electrical panel is left in the “off” position.

2. Move electrical appliances and devices out of the home or above the expected level of flood water within the home.

If a flood has occurred and your basement is filled with water: 

1. Do not enter the basement if you can see (or are unsure) that the water level is above the level of electrical outlets, baseboard heaters, the furnace or the electrical panel.

2. In the event that the water has risen above the outlets, contact your local electric utility company immediately and arrange for them to disconnect power to your home.

3. Watch out for downed power lines in the affected area. Stay back and call 9-1-1 and the local electric utility company to report it.

If your electrical system has been affected by water damage, your utility company may not be able to restore power to your property until damage has been assessed and necessary repairs made. The ESA recommends that you hire a Licensed Electrical Contractor to inspect your home after major water damage.