Remember Last Year…?
Are you any more prepared to stay warm than you were last year? Here are some helpful tips. We know we talk about this every year but we want you to be ready for winter just in case…
As winter nears, there are a number of things you can do to help yourself in the case of a power outage. Here are a few things to think about as you ready yourselves:
You Can Help
Report any flashes, bangs or trees in lines that might help crews locate damage or downed lines. Telephone lines are answered 24-hours a day; if the lines are busy, please try back later. Once you have spoken to a Member Service Representative and reported your outage, it will be logged into the outage system for restoration. Our crews will restore your power as soon as it is safely possible.
Always Be Prepared
Make sure you have a “Personal” and a “Household” emergency kit in case of a lengthy power outage or other natural event. When planning for your “Kits”, you should plan for 3 or 4 days rather than shorter periods. While you may not exhaust the supplies in a shorter event, it is better to be safe than sorry!
Personal Emergency Kits
For your “Personal Kit”, consider either a 5-gallon bucket or a backpack… something that you can easily grab-n-go with. Surprisingly, you can fit a lot of supplies in either of these containers. All of the things you see in the adjacent photograph fit in the 5-gallon bucket labeled “Personal Kit”.
While you can pack anything you like, we have shown and listed things that we feel are essential. It is recommended that each member of the household have their “OWN KIT”. Remember, during extended outages, you need to think about survival-type items, not vacation or picnic pleasantries.
In this kit are some basic items: Bottled Water, Trail Mix, Canned Goods, Dried Foods, Energy Bars, Water-proof Matches, Blanket, Flashlight & Batteries, Paper Products, Hand Cleaner & Baby Wipes, Playing Cards and a Rain Slicker or Spa Blanket. These items are only suggestions. Other items you might choose to include are a pocket knife, duct-tape and plastic eating utensils. There is no right or wrong answer – you know what you need in the case of an extended event.
Household Emergency Kits
Your “Household Kit” will have some of the same items included in your “Personal Kit” and may require a bit more space than a 5-gallon bucket or a backpack… but it still should be something that you can easily grab-n-go with. Remember, during an extended outage, be thinking about basic necessities, not the comforts of home.
To the right are some “additional” basics for your “Household Kit”: First Aid Kit, Battery Operated Cell Phones & Laptop Computers, Battery Operated or Solar Radio, Camp Stove with extra fuel bottles, Candles, and a Battery Operated Lantern.
You may want to consider an inexpensive Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) to charge your cell phone or laptop battery. Make sure it is always charged and ready to go. Remember, there is no wrong answer – you know what you need in the case of an extended event.
Please, Please, Please
Let the repair crews do their job. While it’s tempting to stop crews and ask questions about when the power is going to be restored, this only delays the restoration process. Remember that while the crews want to be helpful, they also want to restore your power quickly so they too can get home to their families.
Be A Good Neighbor
Severe storms usually increase the number of accidents and medical problems. Remember this increases the response time for service agencies. You may want to organize people in your area to check on each other and lend assistance.
Things To Remember
- Turn off all major appliances. Water heater and heating system breakers need to be turned off to avoid overloading your circuits when the power is restored.
- Unplug any voltage-sensitive equipment to avoid damage.
- Install surge protectors to protect voltage sensitive equipment.
- Switch on an outside light. This may assist our crews in determining whether or not your power has been restored late into the night.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed.
- Food will last 12 to 24 hours if doors are kept closed. A full freezer can last 24 to 48 hours.
- You can drape a sleeping bag over your refrigerator or freezer for added insulating value.
- Listen to the local radio stations for updates and information.
- Know where your flashlight, portable or wind-up radio & fresh batteries are. Always keep the batteries separate until you are ready to use them.
- Have bottled drinking water. Be sure to store at least one gallon per person per day.
- If a storm is forecast, fill the bathtub with water so bathroom facilities can still be used by pouring a bucket of water down the toilet to create a vacuum flush.
- You might still have 50 gallons of fresh, usable water in your water heater.
Note: In the event of an extended power outage, storm or natural disaster, it is easy to overlook or forget things that are essential to survival… even if they are right under your nose! 40-50 gallons of fresh water can help!!!
- If you drain your water heater… make sure the fuse or breaker to your water heater is removed or turned off.
- Verify that your water heater has a drain or outlet. Turn off the water supply valve to the water heater. Open at least one, preferably more, hot water faucets to avoid a vacuum in the water lines to allow fresh water to drain out of the water heater for your use.
- Close the drain or outlet at the bottom of the water heater. Close the faucets in the bathrooms or kitchen. Turn the water supply valve to the water heater back on.
- Allow the water heater to fill for at least 30 minutes before turning on the breakers. Failure to do so will damage the heating elements in your water heater. If you have a fireplace or wood stove, keep kindling and dry firewood on hand. Wear extra layers and cover your head with a hat. Have sleeping bags and blankets handy as well.
- Purchase easy to prepare food items… Items that don’t require much cooking, i.e., canned or instant soups, stews or chili, packaged freezedried meals, and protein or breakfast bars.
For more information on building your emergency kits, you can also go to: oregonpacific.redcross.org.
Never wire a portable generator directly into your electrical panel.
- If not installed correctly, portable generators can cause fatal accidents involving the workers on the lines. Plug appliances into the generator.
- DO NOT connect household breaker circuits to the generator without having a “double-throw switch” installed by a licensed electrician.