Iowa’s top public safety official is urging people returning to flooded-out properties to take some precautions, as electricity and water don’t mix. Public Safety commissioner Gene Meyer says you should have a certified electrician or home inspector ensure the electricity’s working properly before you try to turn the power back on in your home.
“If you have electrical appliances that have been damaged (by flood water), they’re probably useless,” he says. You may call the electrical inspection division within the State Fire Marshall’s Office if you have questions. That number is 866-923-1082.
More rain is in today’s forecast and the water from the swollen river that has flooded Ames is headed downstream toward Huxley, Colfax, Oskaloosa and Keosauqua. “If you have areas in your home that you believe may flood, you know, shut off the circuit breakers. Whatever you do if it does flood and you haven’t done that, don’t be walking in water near electrical outlets,” Meyer says. “Again, common sense kinds of things.”
Meyer is also advising Iowans to stay away from flood waters. “People walking through flood water, they have to think about what they’re walking through and what that flood water can contain — the contaminants that can be terribly dangerous to them,” Meyer says, “not to mention the fact that generally they can’t see the bottom of where they’re walking and if the road is washed away or if a manhole cover has been washed off and they fall through it, they can easily be seriously injured or killed.”
Meyer says at night Iowans who’re driving on rural roads in potential flash flood zones need to be especially cautious, reduce their speed and, if they encounter water on the road, turn around rather than drive through it.