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Electrical Outages and Home Safety

IF THE POWER GOES OUT:

  1. Check your fuse or breaker box for blown fuses or tripped circuits. If they are okay, see If neighbors are without power.
  2. Call your utility immediately. You may be asked for information, or hear a message if the situation has already been reported
  3. Turn off all electrical equipment [e g , water heater, electric furnace, heaters, stove,washer, dryer, TV] to prevent overloading the system when power is restored.
  4. Turn on a porch light and one inside light so you and utility crews will know when service is restored.
  5. Listen to the radio [battery-powered] for updates on major electrical outages.
  6. If your neighbor's power comes back on but yours does not, call your utility company again.

Important Information when Reporting a Power Outage

  • Name & address.
  • Time of outage.
  • Are lights out, flickering or dim?
  • Are the neighbors' lights out?
  • Were there loud noises preceding the outage?
  • Have any wires fallen to the ground? Tree limbs on lines?

Crews may have to remove limbs, replace broken insulators or fuses and close circuit breakers. The more serious the problem, the longer it will take to restore customer service.

EMERGENCY LIGHTING:

Flashlights: Each person should have their own flashlight. Store extra bulbs and batteries.

Light sticks: Self-contained chemical lights that activate by bending. Work well as night-lights for children.

Candles: Can be dangerous. Set in low wide cans. Keep away from curtains and flammable furniture and out of children's reach.

DOWNED POWER LINES

If you see a power line lying on the ground, don't touch it with anything - stay back. Call your utility company immediately. Keep kids and pets away.

NEVER touch a downed power line. Electricity can travel through your body causing serious injury or death. If you see a downed power line, take these precautions:

  • Expect every line to be "live." Electricity is invisible. The line doesn't have spark or sizzle to carry electricity.
  • If a power line is touching someone, stay away. You cannot help. If you touch the person, you could become a victim too.
  • Call 911 for emergency help!
  • If a power line falls across your vehicle, don't get out! Wait for emergency help to arrive.

STAYING WARM:

Outages can occur at any time of year, but during cold weather the temperature inside your home can drop rapidly.

Tips for staying warm:

  • Save Body Heat -Wear a hat, even while sleeping Wear loose layers of clothing to trap body heat Use blankets and a hot water bottle
  • Lock in Home Heat - pick one room [on the sunny side of the house] and close it off to keep the heat in

Watch for Hypothermia [a drop in core body temperature] especially in infants and elderly. Symptoms include slow, slurred speech, clumsiness, confusion and/or persistent shivering. Call 9-1-1 if you suspect hypothermia. Remember to check on isolated friends and neighbors.

HOUSEHOLD TIPS:

  • Your Freezer will keep food frozen during an outage for about two days if it's full, one day if it's less than half full. Don't open the door. It also helps to cover the freezer with blankets.
  • Protect Your Pipes If the power is out and the weather is freezing, keep a steady drip of cold water on an inside faucet and wrap pipes to prevent damage.
  • Automatic Garage Door Openers won't work if the power is out. Check to see if you have a manual override.
  • Home Computers Install a surge protector (not just a power strip) to protect your computer from power surges.
  • Charcoal Briquettes Never use briquettes indoors. They produce carbon monoxide which can be deadly.
  • Generators Never connect a home generator to a wall outlet. If used incorrectly, portable or auxiliary generators used for backup power at home can ruin your electrical system and start a fire and can also feed electricity back into the utility system. This is very dangerous for crews repairing lines.