British Columbia Safety Authority

British Columbia Safety Authority

May 24, 2013 15:02 ET

BC Safety Authority: Gas and Electrical Equipment Safety in Floods

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - May 24, 2013) - Recent, unseasonably high temperatures have many areas of the province preparing for higher than usual water levels and potential flooding. There are serious gas and electrical safety implications to consider if you are living or working in an area experiencing flooding. BC Safety Authority (BCSA) reminds homeowners and businesses to take precautions with gas and electrical appliances when 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 BC Safety Authority.

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

If electrical, gas or heating equipment is subjected to flooding it may become damaged, making it inoperable or unsafe. It is important to have the area of occupancy declared safe to enter by the proper authorities. It is also important that the requirements of other health & safety protocols have also been met. BC Safety Authority's Information Bulletin on Emergency Post Flood Protocol for Re-Energizing Electrical and Gas, available at: http://safetyauthority.ca/node/1025, outlines the requirements to restore electrical and gas service after a flooding incident.

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 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 contractor is unavailable:

  • 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, propane supplier, or 911. Natural and propane gas smell like rotten eggs.
  • If the main power and gas supply are still turned on, shut them off and 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.

BC Safety Authority is an independent, self-funded organization mandated to oversee the safe installation and operation of technical systems and equipment. In addition to issuing permits, licences and certificates we work with industry to reduce safety risks through assessment, enforcement, research and education.

Additional gas and electrical safety information for homeowners, including how to locate a licensed contractor in your areas is available on the BCSA website at: http://www.safetyauthority.ca/safety-information/homeowners

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