Belco prepares for Humberto

  • Belco workmen restore power near Harrington Sound Primary School in this file photo (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Belco workmen restore power near Harrington Sound Primary School in this file photo (Photograph by Akil Simmons)


The island’s utilities provider is preparing for the potential impact of Hurricane Humberto later today.

A company spokesman said: “Belco’s crisis management team continue to meet regularly and are closely monitoring the approach of Hurricane Humberto.

“Assets have been put in place before the arrival of the storm so that once it has passed any restoration efforts can proceed quickly and efficiently.”

Dennis Pimentel, the president of Belco, said: “Hurricanes can cause damage to our transmission and distribution system.

“I urge everyone to follow the tips we have outlined for their safety and that of Belco workers.

“By working together, we can ensure everyone’s safety and also get any outages restored as quickly as possible. On behalf of our entire team here at Belco, I thank the public for their co-operation, support and patience during and once the storm has passed.”

The company provided a list of tips to keep residents safe this morning.

Downed power lines:

• Stay away from downed power lines — at least 33 feet or more — that’s approximately three car lengths.

• Always assume downed power lines are energised and dangerous.

• Stay clear of piles of debris or downed foliage that may conceal live power lines.

• Do not run from a fallen line. Running from a fallen line may cause your legs to bridge current from higher to lower voltage and you may receive a shock. Instead, keep your legs together and shuffle away with both feet on the ground. Shuffle a safe distance (33 feet or more) away from other utility poles.

Generators:

• Carbon monoxide fumes emitted by a generator’s exhaust cannot be smelled or seen and can be fatal. Never use a generator indoors. Generators should NEVER be operated in any part of your home or indoor space, regardless of whether there are open windows. Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machinery outdoors ONLY and away from windows.

• Hooking up your generator directly into your home power supply could energise the outside power lines and electrocute a utility worker. If you must connect the generator through the house wiring to power appliances, use a qualified and licensed electrician to install an appropriate power transfer switch.

• Never store fuel for your generator in your house and do not store fuels near a fuel-burning appliance, such as a stove or water heater. Before refuelling the generator, turn it off and let it cool down. Gasoline spilt on a hot engine can ignite a fire.

Electrical outlets:

• Never overload your electrical outlets. Overloaded outlets are one of the main causes of electrical fires, especially during and after a major storm when systems are more fragile.

Stay off the roads:

• Never go “sightseeing” during or immediately after a storm. You risk your life as well as the lives of people who may try to help you should you get into trouble. You will also hamper the work of emergency crews, first responders and Belco crews working to restore outages.

Water Damage:

• Never touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off electricity at the main breaker or fuse box to prevent electric shock.

• Never use electrical appliances that have been wet. Water can damage the motors in electrical appliances, such as freezers, refrigerators, washing machines and dryers. For those that have been under water, have them repaired by a qualified electrician.

• Wiring that has become wet or damaged during a major storm cannot be safely reused, even it appears to have completely dried. It must be replaced. Identify any wiring that was under water or dampened. If the water did not reach all levels of a building, wiring that was not wet may still be safely used. Have a qualified electrician inspect any suspect electrical appliances or wiring.

Unplug sensitive electronics:

• Unplug all appliances, and electronics, which are not protected by surge protection equipment. It is also wise to unhook the cable box from your television.

Belco encouraged customers to visit the company’s website at www.belco.bm for updates.

It added that all Belco cashiers will close today at 11am.

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Published Sep 18, 2019 at 9:30 am (Updated Sep 18, 2019 at 9:30 am)

Belco prepares for Humberto

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