Beware of electrical and natural gas dangers during flooding

Many Manitobans have experienced basement flooding. During the spring thaw and throughout the summer, take precautions to stay safe if water threatens your lower level. In a flood situation both electrical and natural gas safety are extremely important. If a flood-related electrical or natural gas emergency occurs in your home, call Manitoba Hydro immediately at 204-480-5900 (Winnipeg) or 1-888-624-9376.

For your safety and to minimize flood damage to electrical and natural gas equipment in your home, consider the following:

Before flooding:

  • Make sure your sewer backwater valve and your sump pump works to prevent a backup.
  • Move electrical equipment such as TVs, stereos, home theater components and computers from your basement to an upper floor of your home. Raise large electrical appliances like refrigerators off the floor, if possible.
  • To determine if it’s necessary to shut off natural gas service to your home, contact Manitoba Hydro.

If your basement floods:

  • Do not enter flooded basements. Electricity can move through water or wet flooring and cause a severe electrical shock or kill you. Even a small amount of water on the floor can be dangerous.
  • Do not attempt to turn off the main power switch and do not attempt to disconnect gas appliances. Call Manitoba Hydro to arrange for disconnection of the power at the pole and the natural gas service.

After the flood has receded:

  • Contact Manitoba Hydro to find out if it is safe to enter your home. If you smell gas or suspect a gas leak, leave immediately and call Manitoba Hydro from a safe location.
  • If electrical or natural gas service to your home was shut off, call Manitoba Hydro to have your service reactivated.
  • Prior to re-energizing electrical service equipment. Have a qualified electrician obtain an electrical wiring permit to:
    • Clean, dry and test service enclosures and panel boards to ensure insulation integrity.
    • Replace circuit breakers that were submerged in water.
    • Clean, dry and test all affected electrical devices, heating equipment, appliances and wiring. You may need to replace the damaged equipment.
  • If your natural gas appliances have been flooded, arrange for a licensed heating contractor to inspect them and determine whether they need to be serviced or replaced. You can also learn about power line hazards in flooded areas at http://www.hydro.mb.ca/safety/outdoor/floods.shtml

Prepared by Linda Carter, PHEc

Manitoba Hydro