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Tips for Dealing with Power Outages During a Storm

April 15, 2006

Turn off lights, electric ranges, washers and dryers and unplug electronic devices, such as computers, televisions and microwave ovens. That will reduce the electrical demand when power is restored, and significantly reduce the chance of damage from electrical surges. Leave one light on to indicate when service returns.

Keep spare containers of water for cooking and bathing if you have an electric water pump. Stay out of flooded or damp basements or other areas if water is in contact with outlets, a furnace or any electrically operated appliance that is energized. The water or moisture might conduct electricity.

Keep candles and oil lamps out of the reach of children and pets; keep those items away from flammable materials, such as furniture and drapes.

Downed Utility Lines:

Stay away from downed lines. Don’t touch, poke or drive over them; assume they are live. Wet ground can conduct electricity, so it’s best to stay out of the area of a downed line.

If the line presents an immediate danger, call 911. Otherwise, report downed lines to your local utility company.

If a tree or limb hit a power line near your house, the connection to your house on the conduit “masthead” above the electrical meter might have been damaged. If so, you should call an electrician to fix it.


Using a Generator:

Make sure the generator is the right size for your needs, and consult with a licensed electrician and/or review the manufacturer’s instructions.

Be sure it is not directly connected to your home wiring. Pull or switch to “off” all main fuses or circuit breakers to protect line crews working to restore service.

Always operate generators outdoors to avoid buildup of toxic fumes. Never refuel a generator when it is operating.

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