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Emergency electrical safety tips from the Hawaiian Electric Companies

August 5, 2014
Maui Weekly

With Hurricane Iselle and Tropical Storm Julio approaching Hawai'i, the Hawaiian Electric Companies want to remind customers that electricity can be dangerous and electrical safety should never be taken for granted, especially during an emergency situation.

Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawai'i Electric Light urge customers to consider the following safety measures before, during and after a disaster or power outage:

Before a storm hits or if there is a power outage, unplug all unnecessary electric equipment and appliances until the storm has passed or until power is restored.

Stay away from downed power lines. Assume they are energized and dangerous. If you see someone injured after touching a downed power line, call 9-1-1 for help.

Should you need to evacuate, take emergency supplies and remember to shut off electricity at the main breaker or switch.

Make plans in advance to go to a safe location where electricity will be available if someone in your home depends on an electrically powered life support system and you don't have a backup generator. Some shelters are designed for people with health needs.Just remember to take your own medical equipment and medications.

When using a portable generator, carefully read and follow instructions in the manufacturer's manual.Do not plug the generator into your household electrical outlets.

If you have a rooftop photovoltaic system, consult with your licensed solar contractor regarding normal and emergency operation procedures for your solar system.As a safety precaution, most photovoltaic systems are designed to safely shut down during outages.PV systems typically have monitoring systems which allow owners to check on the status of their system.

If you become trapped in an elevator during a power outage, relax and stay calm until help arrives.Use elevator emergency communication systems to report where you are and who is with you. Do not try to force open elevator doors.Never try to exit a stalled elevator car.Always wait for trained and qualified emergency personnel.

Hawaiian Electric's free "Information Handbook for Emergency Preparedness" includes these tips and more. It can be downloaded at

The handbook includes key numbers to have on hand, checklists for emergency supplies (such as a home survival kit and first aid kit), electrical safety information, power outage preparedness and recovery information, and household and food safety tips. It also provides references and links to related resources, such as the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and civil defense agencies.



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