By Tim McClintock, Midwest Technical Field Representative, NEMA
Reliable electricity is one aspect of our daily lives that we sometimes take for granted. It’s not until we have a loss of power that we realize just how much we need it. Hurricane Ida, one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to hit the U.S. mainland, left devastation in its wake, including more than one million customers without power.
As damaging storms and other weather events continue to impact the U.S., utilities and communities are looking for solutions to build a more robust electrical infrastructure that can withstand or reduce the impact of natural disasters like Hurricane Ida. Following the catastrophic failure of the levee system in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina 16 years ago, the Federal government spent billions of dollars to upgrade that levee system. Consequently, Hurricane Ida was a major test that passed, as the levee walls did not provide the same damaging amount of water as Katrina. This is an excellent example of building resiliency into the infrastructure, and we should make similar investments in our country’s electrical infrastructure.
To help communities evaluate their electrical infrastructure and prioritize investments, NEMA developed a Resilience Assessment Toolkit. This free resource was written to increase awareness for how electrical system resilience should be assessed and to guide communities on which investments to make to improve resilience.
Storm Recovery Resources
As utility companies continue to work around the clock to restore power, there are safety guidelines that all storm-response personnel should be aware of. NEMA offers free Storm Recovery Resources to help educate electrical workers, first responders, and other local officials to help prevent injuries from fire, shock, and electrocution.
Even after power is restored, hazardous conditions may exist, as flood-damaged equipment may be energized and making contacting with that equipment could be fatal.
Local storm-response personnel are encouraged to refer to National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) Evaluating Water-Damaged Electrical Equipment publication when assessing electrical equipment that was exposed to floodwaters. It is paramount to those affected by flood waters to understand the importance of electrical safety when determining whether to recondition, reuse, or replace electrical products that have been damaged by a flood.
NEMA has the information and resources you can rely on before, during, and after a storm. This includes tips for preparing your home and workplace, electrical safety during a storm, and guidance on restoring your electrical systems affected by wind, rain, or flooding.
Additional resources for storm recovery from can be found by visiting the following links:
The NEMA Technical Field Representative program serves as a resource and coordinates with local officials whenever a natural disaster like Hurricane Ida strikes. For additional information or NEMA recommendations for maintaining, building, or rebuilding an electrical system and performing an assessment of electrical resilience, see the NEMA Resilience Assessment Toolkit Strategic Initiative or contact Bryan Holland, Senior Technical Field Representative, Southern Region.