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Jun 27, 2002

B.E.L. urges consumers to guard against accidents

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With recent flooding freshly in mind, Belize Electricity Limited is advising consumers what to do–and what not to do–when rising waters begin to cover those electrical outlets and appliances. Today News 5′s Ann-Marie Williams visited the company to find out for herself how to protect the family from accidents.

Philip Waight, Safety Engineer, B.E.L.

“You’re trimming your trees, the tree fall on the line. That is why B.E.L. always recommend that you trim your trees and don’t plant trees near the line. And if your trees are there, call B.E.L. to clear it off, because if it falls on the line, you could be electrocuted. Like the gardener, whose outlet is in the water, he is standing in the water and he’s trying to cut the hedge with an electrical trimmer and he’s dying. “

Ann-Marie Williams

“This is very common, a lot of children tend to play around that…”

Philip Waight

“Right, we have substations and transformer bays and like you see, the kid’s ball went into the substation. Don’t go in there to try retrieve it, because again, everything there is active and you are endangering yourself.”

Ann-Marie Williams, Reporting

And one way not to endanger yourself and your family during floods or hurricane is to follow a few safety tips from B.E.L.’s safety engineer Philip Waight.

Philip Waight

“Again, you have to be aware that if you… Say it was in the night, you woke up and you don’t know where you’re at, be aware of where the water level is an your outlets. Because if you step off your bed into the water, the outlet might have been below the water level, your breaker is on, there’s a potential for you to be electrocuted at that spot. If you’re moving your stuff around, be careful because these are your appliances, they might be plugged in or your hand might be wet and something has some electricity passing through, you could endanger yourself. Many people have extension cords running around the house. Be aware they might be in water as well. So all these little things you have to be completely aware of.”

You should also be completely aware of high-tension wires if you’re outdoors.

Philip Waight

“Now in terms of a flood, if that wire is in water and the system has not tripped, there’s all possibility that that is on. If that line is live, you could be electrocuted almost immediately, [if you] step in that same water that the wire lies in. So stay away from all B.E.L. lines, all electrical lines. The person in San Pedro got electrocuted from an extension cord that was in the water, so it’s only just the line. If you have extension cords outside in the water, again be aware of that. In some of these areas, extension cords go from one house to another or to some back room, flood water, be completely aware that guess what, that also is a potential hazard because electricity and water is a major, major disaster.”

In order to avoid potential hazards, Waight says you need to have a plan, not just a hurricane plan.

Philip Waight

“If you don’t have an evacuation plan, or a hazard plan, you find that you do things that are contrary to your health. So you have to plan in advance. By planning, you’re able to decide, well guess what, this is the circumstances which I have met, I could now execute it. But if I just get up one morning, my house is full of water, I had no previous plan, I might not live to see another day, so you’ve got to plan in advance.”

Ann-Marie Williams for News 5.

If you’d like to learn more about B.E.L.’s safety tips against flooding, you can visit their website at www.bel.com.bz.

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