Flooding and electricity – dangerous combination
The Jamaica Fire Brigade is warning Jamaicans against the possibility of fires and electrocution, in the event of flooding.
"We have to be mindful of the fact that with the present rainy season that we are having, we are seeing a number of situations where water is going into persons' houses. You have electrical appliances, you have extension cords and those things that are on the ground. Persons have to be mindful that this can cause electrocution and it can also cause a fire," Emeleo Ebanks, public relations officer for the Jamaica Fire Brigade, told THE STAR.
Ebanks advises Jamaicans to act swiftly if they find themselves in such a situation.
"You would now be having one situation becoming two. So, please be careful. Once you see these kinds of situations, plug out all your appliances and make sure that as much as is possible, extensions cords and all of those things do not come in contact with water," he said.
Ewart Foster, director at the Jamaican Master Electricians Alliance, expounded on the increased possibility of electrocution in a flooded property.
"It would be good to turn off the panel breaker box if there's a flood. And if any water gets inside your breaker box, you should contact a licensed electrician. And it's not only a flooding, because with the extent of these rains, you may have a leaking roof that may cause water to go down on the boxes. Even if it's a concrete roof ... these rains may cause anything to break down," Foster warned.
Foster says persons may have to evacuate their homes in some instances.
"They shouldn't concentrate on their belongings. Their safety comes first. I would advise them to stay outside of the house if it is flooded before they get to turn off their breakers. The fire personnel or JPS will have the necessary gear to de-energise of remove the power form the premises," he said.
"When the water starts to get inside and reaches the electrical sockets, that water can become energised. So, you can imagine ... that would be like you're in a pool and put electricity inside the pool. People should take immediate action and protect themselves by leaving the premises."