How to prepare for power outages
A sudden power outage due to severe weather or a nearby accident could leave you without power for hours or even days. Here is the best way to prepare for an extended power outage:
PREPARE BEFORE THE STORM
Update Your Contact Information
Make sure we have your current contact information. We may need to contact you in the event of an extended power outage. Please verify your correct contact number and email address are on file with us.
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Know how to report a power outage
Contact your local office, call the 24/7 outage line, report through this website or use the free SVEC app for iPhone and Android. The SVEC app provides an easy, quick way to report a power outage and also access the outage map.
Weather radios provide critical information
Local TV news, weather app alerts and the internet are all good ways to receive weather warnings but an NOAA WEATHER RADIO, sold at SVEC offices, provides warnings if the power goes out. And always keep a supply of fresh batteries!
Have an emergency kit
Your emergency kit should include: water (3-day supply, one gallon per person per day); food (3-day supply, non-perishable); clothing, bedding, sanitation supplies; first-aid supplies, medicine; tool (can opener, flashlight, batteries, cell phone charging bank) and important documents.
Have an emergency back-up plan
In the event of major power outage, have a back-up plan that includes where you can stay if your home loses power. When power outages are widespread after a natural disaster, most counties will open emergency shelters. Have contact numbers of local emergency management agencies, police departments and fire departments you can call to find out about emergency shelters. To learn more about making an emergency plan, go to www.ready.gov/plan.
Full charge, full tank
Keep mobile phones charged and car and generator gas tanks full. If you have access to a power bank for mobile phones, keep it charged also.
AFTER THE STORM
Stay Away From Downed Power Lines
Severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and flooding can leave more than damage in their wake—they can leave hidden dangers as well. In some cases, more lives are lost after the storm than from the storm itself.
When outside, stay away from downed power lines and be alert to the possibility that tree limbs or debris may hide an electrical hazard. Treat all downed or hanging power lines as if they are energized. Lines do not have to be arcing or sparking to be live. Warn others to stay away and call 911 or contact us.
Do not touch downed power lines, and do not touch objects or puddles of water in contact with those lines. There is no way to know if they are energized. Encountering these objects can be as hazardous as coming into contact with a downed power line itself.
Keep freezers and refrigerators closed. Use coolers with ice if necessary. Monitor temperatures with a thermometer.
As the USDA notes in Keeping Food Safe During an Emergency, your refrigerator will keep food safe for up to 4 hours during a power outage. Keep the door closed as much as possible. Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers after 4 hours without power.
A full freezer will hold a safe temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full and the door remains closed).
- If using a generator, use ONLY outdoors and away from windows. (For more on generator safety, click here)
- Do not use a gas stove and ovens to heat your home.
- Disconnect appliances and electronics to avoid damage from electrical surges.
- Have alternate plans for refrigerating medicines or using power-dependent medical devices.
- If safe, go to an alternate location for heat or cooling.
- Check with your local officials for locations of cooling or warming centers.
- Be a good neighbor. Check on the welfare of others.