As flood waters recede, beware of risks from damaged wiring and unregistered contractors

TUMWATER — Victims of the flooding in Washington need to guard against also being victims of electrocution or fires or unregistered contractors, the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) said today.

L&I also cautioned owners of flooded manufactured or mobile homes to seek technical assistance.

“Natural disasters like our devastating floods carry dangers that can strike after the waters have receded,” said Patrick Woods, assistant director of the L&I division that licenses electricians and contractors and oversees manufactured and mobile homes. “We want business owners and homeowners to be aware of some of the risks and where to turn for help.”

Here is some information and helpful resources about electrical hazards and hiring a contractor, and about making repairs to manufactured or mobile homes:

Electrical hazards – Wiring and equipment that have been submerged in water should not be re-energized without an inspection from a qualified person, such as an electrical inspector or electrical contractor. Flooding always damages wiring and equipment, and it is usually not visible and may appear later. Once the wiring or equipment has been under water, it could cause electrocution or fire. For more information on flood recovery, go to www.ElectricalProgram.Lni.wa.gov and click on “Home & Business Owner Basics.”

Hiring a contractor – Doing homework upfront can protect against fraudulent contractors who take the money and run, or do a poor job and won’t come back to fix the problem.At www.Contractors.Lni.wa.gov, homeowners can find out whether a contractor is registered and whether that contractor has any current claims against his or her bond. There’s also a checklist to follow when hiring a contractor to make repairs.

Repairing a manufactured/mobile home – If a manufactured or mobile home has been flooded or damaged, L&I offers technical assistance on how to proceed. Contact the nearest L&I office and ask for a contractor compliance inspector. For online information, go to www.FAS.Lni.wa.gov and click on “Forms & Publications.”

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