British Columbia Safety Authority

British Columbia Safety Authority

November 16, 2009 16:37 ET

BC Safety Authority: Safety Steps for Flood-Prone Areas

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 16, 2009) - With flood warnings up as heavy rains raise water levels in rivers and creeks in the Fraser Valley, the BC Safety Authority (BCSA) is issuing a reminder to homeowners and businesses to take precautions with gas and electrical appliances if flooding is expected.

"Electrical equipment and gas appliances exposed to flood waters can be dangerous if they are re-energized and used without being properly inspected by a licensed contractor," says Greg Paddon, Director of Technical Programs for the provincial regulator of technical safety.

"Moisture, debris and contaminants in flood-damaged equipment or appliances can sometimes be hidden and cause serious risks," adds Paddon.

If flooding is expected and time allows, do the following:

  • Have a licensed gas contractor remove gas equipment and systems.
  • Have a licensed gas contractor cap the gas pipe leading to the appliances.
  • Remove electrical appliances.
  • Shut off the main gas and electrical supply.
  • Secure propane tanks to a stable structure to keep them from floating away.

If there is no advance warning of flooding or a licensed gas contractor is unavailable, here are some quick steps that you can take:

  • Shut off the main gas and electrical supply.
  • Ensure that all valves and power knobs on all appliances and systems are turned off.
  • Shut off the water leading to and from hot water tanks.
  • Secure propane tanks to a stable structure.

Extreme precautions must be taken when returning to a flood-damaged area.

  • If you smell natural or propane gas, leave the area immediately and call your gas utility. Natural and propane gas smell like rotten eggs or sulphur.
  • If the main power and gas supply are still turned on, shut them off. Do not step on a wet area if you must touch the main electrical panel.
  • Do not plug in or turn on any flood-damaged appliance or system. Call licensed gas and electrical contractors to do an inspection first.
  • Have a licensed gas contractor reconnect any gas system that was removed.

To learn other safety tips, read the BCSA 10 Safety Tips link at www.safetyauthority.ca under Safety Information and then Safety Tips. To get copies of safety tip sheets, email the Safety Authority at info@safetyauthority.ca or call toll free 1-866-566-7233.

The BCSA website also provides a list of licensed contractors. Just go to Homeowners / BCSA Contractor List.

The BC Safety Authority is an independent, self-funded organization that inspires safety excellence in British Columbia by partnering with business, industry and the general public to enhance the safety of technical systems, products, equipment and work.

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