By now many readers have heard, read about, seen or experienced the aftermath of the recent Hurricane Sandy that made landfall on October 29. This hurricane brought winds and rain to 500 or more mile of coast line and has devastated several states causing millions of dollars in damage’New Jersey and New York having some of the worst hit areas.
I must say that I was not surprised to see how fast what I call the ‘Storm Troopers” sprang into action. They were the utility companies, suppliers, manufacturers, gas and oil company service specialist who often worked alongside the emergency personnel’s first responders. I was also amazed at how far many of the linemen and tree service companies came ‘ I saw vehicles from Kansas, Missouri and Ohio to name a few.
I know the usual bread, milk, water and batteries all disappeared in a heartbeat. No surprise! One of the other items that left all the suppliers in short supply were generators that generally ranged in area of 5,000-8,000 KW and brand had no meaning.
However, often when an emergency occurs, we sometimes see what I call ‘Haste in Action” by people taking place. This is when a dangerous situation can happen due to a poor decision. For example, a homeowner in a panic attempts to connect a generator that they bought to the house circuit before calling a licensed electrician.
I recently spoke with a utility company lineman who had arrived for a power outage condition and during our conversation, he said that more than once a lineman has been seriously injured or killed by a generator that had not been connected properly by a licensed electrician. When I asked how this happens, he explained that if someone has connected a generator to a house circuit improperly and the generator is started, a back feed of electricity could feed from the house, up a pole and shock a working lineman who had presumed after testing that power was nonexistent.
So, to those who are selling generators, also give a list of licensed electricians with the invoice. Another suggestion, if you come across a LP or natural gas unit that has gone under water, change the entire unit because the gas valve and other components can create a dangerous situation. Most manufacturers will make this mandatory also.
I know that many oil burner motors and electronic controls will be in need of replacement also due to flooding, but make sure that the power is non-existent before stepping into a wet basement and remember grounding may be non-existent. I know that there were more than 100 unfortunate deaths as the result of Hurricane Sandy, and let’s contribute to this already high number.
On a final note, I want to say that I was amazed when I witnessed several hundred people standing in line at a local furniture store parking lot and I wondered why. My first thought was that this must be a line for FEMA support, only to learn that they were there with bags of clothing and other donated items being loaded onto several trailer trucks headed for the most devastated areas. The drivers and trucks were all donated by several companies. It is great to see even during tough economic times, how we find a way as Storm Troopers to answer the call of need. My own special thanks to all!