L&I News

See more More news releases

February 13, 1996

Check for electrical damage before turning power back on, L&I advises flood victims

TUMWATER - Flood victims should make sure their power has been shut off and proper repairs have been made before re-energizing homes and businesses, officials with the state Department of Labor & Industries advise.

The department is also warning consumers to be aware of unscrupulous home repair contractors who often surface when there's a natural disaster. To verify that a contractor is licensed and bonded, call the department's contractor registration hotline at 1-800-647-0982.

To avoid electrical shock or fire hazards, flood victims with structures that have been submerged should contact their utility company to make sure power has been disconnected at either the transformer or at the pole -- before any electrical work is performed.

All electrical components that have been under water should be thoroughly checked by a qualified person, such as an electrical contractor, to make sure the part is not damaged or water-soaked. This includes meters, panels, wiring, appliances, etc.

A safety inspection by a city or state electrical inspector is also required for all electrical work after the work has been completed. If the power has been turned off, but the structure was not under water, a homeowner can ask their utility to call a state inspector for a no-fee agency request inspection. Any new electrical work will require a permit.

Homeowners with general questions about the flood damage and recovery assistance should first call the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster assistance application line at 1-800-462-9029, or the state's help line at 1-800-525-0321. Specific questions about electrical inspection procedures can be answered by local power utilities or by calling the electrical inspection section of your nearest Labor & Industries office.

The department also offers these tips when hiring a construction contractor:

  • Make sure your contractor is registered by calling the registration hotline at 1-800-647-0982. Consumers have little protection if they hire an unregistered contractor and something goes wrong with the job.
  • Try to get at least three written bids before signing a contract. If you sign a contract, make sure you understand its terms.
  • Be cautious about paying for any work not yet completed.
  • Be wary of contractors who ask you to pick up the local building permit -- a sign that they may not be registered and do not want to show their face at city hall or the county building department.

###

End of main content, page footer follows.

Access Washington official state portal

© Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries. Use of this site is subject to the laws of the state of Washington.