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Preparing for Power Outages

electric companies work tirelessly to restore electric service after power outagesAs we head into the final weeks of August, the peak of the hurricane season is right around the corner, which for many means preparing for power outages.

As of the time of writing this article, there are no hurricanes, tropical storms, or systems that are even thought to have any tropical characteristics about them. Which is why we are posting this article now. It’s a time most people become complacent and don’t think about power outages, or the damages that can come with a tropical system.

Start now (if you haven’t already done so) and make preparations for power outages, because as a storm is approaching (or even hitting) may be too late.

How to Prepare for Power Outages

  • Update your phone number and e-mail address with your electric company so you can be served faster in the event of an outage.
  • Make sure your Emergency Outage Kit is fully stocked and easily accessible.
  • Develop an emergency plan that addresses any special medical needs you or your family members have. Call your local emergency management office to discuss necessary arrangements.
  • Purchase appliances with built-in surge protection or install surge protectors to help safeguard valuable electronic equipment such as computers and home entertainment systems. Plug computers and other sensitive equipment into a separate, grounded circuit to isolate them from fluctuations caused when a major appliance restarts (such as your room air conditioner or refrigerator). Consider having a lightning arrester installed at your main circuit panel.

If You Actually Experience a Power Outage

  • Report your outage immediately to your local electric company. Don’t rely on your neighbors to report your power outages. Remember, most power grids are divided to some extent, so you may be having a power outage, and your neighbor’s lights may still be on.
  • Stay away from downed power lines, flooded areas, and debris. Treat all fallen wires and anything touching them as though they are energized. Immediately report downed lines to your local electric company.
  • Turn off all appliances, including your furnace, air conditioner, water heater, and water pump. Leave on one lamp to know when power has been restored. That way, you can avoid a circuit overload and another outage that may result when power is restored to all appliances at once.
  • Keep freezer and refrigerator doors closed. Food will stay frozen for 36 to 48 hours in a fully loaded freezer if you keep the door closed. A half-full freezer will generally keep food frozen for 24 hours. For refrigerated items, pack milk, other dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, gravy, and spoilable leftovers into a cooler surrounded by ice. Inexpensive Styrofoam coolers are fine for this purpose.
  • Follow safe operating procedures for generators. Never operate one inside your home or in an enclosed space, such as a garage.
  • Listen to the local radio station on your battery-operated radio for regular news and weather updates.
  • If using portable stoves, kerosene heaters, or lanterns, make sure the area you’re using these items in is sufficiently ventilated.
  • If you must travel, please help protect line workers and crews when you see them on the roadside making emergency repairs. Move over from the lane nearest the workers or slow down until you can safely pass the work site.
  • If it is hot outside, close drapes and blinds on the sunny side of your house, drink plenty of fluids, take your pets to a cool basement location, and go to an air-conditioned civic center, mall, or library if necessary to stay cool. (Check to make sure these places are even open before you go, as following a tropical storm or hurricane, they may be without power as well.)
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Remember, after power outages, electric companies restore power to critical community services such as hospitals, police and fire protection, and communications facilities first. The next priority is to restore service to the largest number of people as soon as possible. Service to neighborhoods, industries, and businesses is systematically restored, followed by single residences and small groups of customers, until restoration is complete.

Hopefully you won’t have any power outages this hurricane season, but if you do we hope this list of preparations will have helped you get ready.

These tips on power outages and how to prepare for them presented by Brown and Reaves Services, Inc. Call us anytime, 24/7, for air conditioning problems. 843-497-9867.  Remember to grab our 20% off coupon on your next service call by Liking us on Facebook.

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