We take electricity for granted. We don’t realize how much we depend on it until there is a storm or other disaster that takes the power out, for hours or even days, and we struggle with the basics of everyday life. September is National Preparedness Month and a good time to think about how we can be prepared for power outages in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. The Department of Homeland Security offers several resources to help you prepare for major weather events and natural disasters. Visit www.ready.gov/make-a-plan.
Preparedness Actions and Items
• Stock your pantry with a three-day supply of nonperishable food, such as canned goods, energy bars, peanut butter, powdered milk, instant coffee, water as well as other essentials (i.e., masks, diapers, and toiletries).
• Confirm that you have adequate sanitation along with hygiene supplies including towelettes, soap, and hand sanitizer.
• Ensure your First Aid kit is stocked with pain relievers, bandages, and other medical essentials, also make sure your prescriptions are current.
• Set aside basic household items you will need, including flashlights, batteries, a manual can opener, and portable, battery-powered radio or TV.
• Organize emergency supplies so they are together in an easily accessible location.
Before the storm
Be sure to fully charge all cell phones, laptops and devices so you have maximum power in the event of a power outage. If you plan to use a small generator, make sure it’s rated to handle the amount of power you will need, and always review the manufacturer’s instructions to operate it safely.
During a prolonged outage
In the event of an outage, turn off appliances, TVs, computers, and other sensitive electronics. This will help avert damage from a power surge, and will also help prevent overloading the circuits during power restoration. That said, do leave one light on so you will know when power is restored. If utilizing a small household generator, consider using LED holiday lights to illuminate a living area. A strand of 100 white LED lights draws little energy yet produces considerable light. Solar lights also work, if they can receive some sunlight during the day for charging.
During thunderstorms, the American Red Cross recommends avoiding electrical equipment and land-based telephones. Use battery-powered TVs and radios instead. Keep away from windows. Listen to local news or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio for emergency updates, you can also check Perennial’s Facebook page for restoration updates.
After the storm, avoid downed power lines and walking through flooded areas where power lines could be submerged. Allow ample room for utility crews to safely perform their jobs – including on your property.
Power in planning
Advance planning for severe storms or other emergencies can reduce stress as well as anxiety caused by the weather event and can lessen the impact of the storm’s effects. Sign up for NOAA emergency alerts and warnings also follow Perennial Public Power District on Facebook to stay abreast of restoration efforts and other important public power news and information. Act today, because there is power in planning.