Beware of electric shock dangers with flooded basements

When your basement takes on water, it’s tempting to rush into cleanup mode. But it’s important to stay calm and assess the situation first. Not doing so could put you at risk of electric shock, and could even prove fatal.

Here are some tips to stay safe:

  • If you’ve got standing water in your basement, make sure OPPD or a licensed electrician removes your home’s electrical meter from its socket. This is the only way to ensure the electricity flow to your home is cut off.
  • Don’t assume your circuit breaker will protect you. If it’s been damaged by water, or is malfunctioning for some reason, it will not trip.
  • Even after your home is disconnected, do not go back inside alone. It’s best to use the “buddy system” when you are walking in a water-logged area, especially a basement. It’s dark and may be slippery. And you may find yourself in need of help.
  • Use a portable gas-powered generator for powering dewatering pumps when electrical safety is in question.
  • When you’re able to pump the water out, you can assess the damage. Any electrical equipment impacted by the water will need to be inspected by a qualified professional and most likely need to be repaired or replaced. This includes lights, switches, outlets, motors, fuse boxes and fuses, circuit boards, wires, and cables.
  • Check with a heating/cooling contractor to see if your heating and cooling equipment can be salvaged.

If you have questions about the safety of your dwelling, contact your county’s emergency management agency.

UPDATED flood contacts

*Sarpy County requests that customers who have no access to their homes due to flooding, and who would like to apply for an electrical inspection to get a permit for reconnection, visit their website to fill out a form. Link directly here.

Jodi Baker

About Jodi Baker

Jodi Baker writes stories and shoots videos for The Wire. Jodi was a television news reporter before she came to work for OPPD as a media specialist in 2013. She's married with two children (a boy and a girl), who keep her and her husband, Dave, hopping. Busy and blessed.

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