Weather is unpredictable. Winter ice storms, a tornado or a summer downpour after weeks of drought can disrupt the flow of energy powering our homes, schools, businesses and factories. Dangerous weather events can cause hazardous road conditions, downed power lines and extended power outages. If power lines go down because of a winter storm, you may be in for an extended power outage as line crews battle the elements to find problem areas and restore service as quickly and safely as possible.
Follow these tips to stay safe during a power outage:
Before the Storm
- Create a disaster kit.
- If your water is pumped electrically, fill your bathtub and spare containers with water in case power goes off.
- Turn your refrigerator to its coldest setting. If the power goes out, this will keep foods fresh longer. If your freezer is relatively empty, fill plastic soda bottles or other plastic containers with water and put them in the freezer. During an extended outage, transfer some of the containers to the refrigerator.
- If you or a family member depends on life support, inform your co-op before a power outage happens.
If there is an Outage
- Report outages and downed wires to Jackson EMC.
- Treat all downed lines as dangerous. Always assume fallen power lines are energized and stay at least 10 feet away from lines and any nearby objects they may be touching. Never attempt to move power lines. Never touch a person or object that is in contact with a downed line; call 911.
Inside the House
- Unplug everything. As electricity is restored, it may create power surges that can destroy electronics. Leave one light switched one so you know when power has returned.
- Don’t use candles. Flashlights produce more light and won’t burn your house down. Bring solar landscape lights inside for extra light. (Don’t forget to put them out for recharging during the day.)
- Keep the fridge closed. The less you open fridge and freezer doors, the longer your food will stay cold. Use an appliance thermometer to check the temperature. (The refrigerator will keep food properly cold for four hours if unopened. A full freezer will hold temperatures for 48 hours; 24 hours if is half full.)
At the Office
- Unplug motor-driven appliances and sensitive electronic equipment such as computers, printers and copiers in order to avoid an electrical overload when power returns.
- Make sure heat-producing equipment has been switched off or unplugged before you leave the building. If such equipment comes back on when power is restored and employees are out of the building, it could cause a fire.
Listen to local radio stations or check jacksonEMC.com for status reports about affected areas and power restoration activities. outage.jacksonemc.com; 1-800-245-4044.
Warning: If you need to use a generator to energize your refrigerator or other necessary electric device, be sure to turn the breaker off at your house so you don’t feed electricity back on the line, unintentionally putting linemen at risk and causing a cascading outage once power is restored.
Prepare a 72-hour disaster kit
A severe storm can knock out power in your area, leaving you without heat, running water or a way to cook food. It’s a good idea to put together an emergency supply in case of an emergency. Remember: children don’t like to be in the dark.
A basic emergency supply kit could include the following items:
- Battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio.
- Water: 1 gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation.
- Non-perishable, ready-to-eat, food.
- Manual can opener.
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- First-aid kit – including prescription medications.
- Tools: wrench, pliers, hammer and screwdriver to turn off utilities.
- Cellphone with car charger, battery pack or solar charger.
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person.
- Complete change of clothes for each person.
- Cash and credit cards.
- Photocopies of important family documents (insurance policies, identification and bank account records) in a waterproof, portable container.
- Paper and pencil.
- Books, games, cards or puzzles for entertainment.
- Moist towelettes and garbage bags for sanitation.
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and other personal items.
- Pet food and extra water for your pet.