The recent severe storms in the Southern part of the United States have left entire neighborhoods destroyed by tornadoes and flooding. Thousands of people have been affected by these natural disasters. In light of this devastation we want to educate you and make sure you know how to stay safe when severe weather strikes.
Before the Storm
Preparation starts before the storm. Take a proactive approach to surviving a disaster by getting your house, yard and family ready before the storm hits. Make a plan and prepare your home.
- Make sure everyone knows emergency phone numbers, and when to call them.
- Learn evacuation routes and establish meeting places in case family members are separated.
- Keep an emergency supply kit on hand. Make sure it includes: portable radio, flashlights, batteries, first-aid kit, non-perishable food and drinking water, emergency cooking equipment and essential medicine.
- Power outages often accompany severe weather like wind, snow and flooding. Be prepared to go without.
- Be sure you have sufficient heating fuel for emergency equipment in case the electricity is cut off (such as a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove).
- Consider purchasing a generator. Strictly adhere to safety requirements.
- Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed. Strong winds frequently break weak limbs and hurl them at great speed, causing damage or injury when they hit.
- Learn how to shut off water valves, in case a pipe bursts.
During the Storm
Play it safe and keep these safety tips in mind during severe weather:
- Take shelter. If that’s not possible, go to (or stay in) a vehicle with the windows closed
- Stay away from downed power lines—Keep everyone away and call the emergency number on your electric bill or 911.
- If you are involved in a vehicle accident and a power line falls across your vehicle, stay put until help arrives. Your tires provide important insulation from the ground.
- Keep your emergency kit handy and accessible during storms
- Don’t tempt fate…or lightning—Stay indoors or seek shelter during storms.
- Don’t touch an object that is in contact with power line, including tree limbs.
- Watch the weather. If it’s rainy or windy, save the outdoor work for another day. Accidents are more likely to happen during stormy weather.
- Protect electronic equipment and appliances by installing surge protectors. If you don’t have surge protection, unplug your television, computer and other sensitive equipment.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors shut. Food will keep for six to nine hours in a refrigerator without spoiling and frozen foods will keep about 24 hours.
- Burn only wood or newspapers in your fireplace if it is a wood-burning fireplace.
- If you choose to use a portable generator during a power outage, make sure the main circuit breaker in the electric service panel box is in the OFF position or, in older electric service panel boxes, that the main fuse block is removed. This is necessary to prevent your generator's electricity from going back into the power lines in the street and potentially endangering the lives of line crews and other emergency workers.
After the Storm
Follow these simple guidelines to keep you and your family safe after the storm
- Continue listening to local radio or television stations for updated information and instructions. Access may be limited to some parts of the community and roads may be blocked.
- Stay away from storm-damaged areas. You may be putting yourself at further risk from the lingering effects of severe weather.
- Help neighbors who may need special assistance: infants, the elderly and people with disabilities.
- Watch out for fallen power lines and report them immediately to your energy provider’s hotline. Reporting potential hazards will prevent further hazard and injury.
Here at Save on Energy, commitment to safety is a priority for our customers and their families. We encourage you to follow these safety guidelines to be prepared and aware of potential electrical hazards at all times, especially before, during and after a severe weather event. For more energy saving tips visit our website at www.saveonenergy.com