Take steps to prepare for severe weather
When the prospect of a severe store looms, be prepared.
“The best way to cope with a storm is to be prepared before it strikes,” Max Davis, general manager of South Alabama Electric Cooperative, said. “Your cooperative has an active right of way program so that we can minimize the damage limbs and trees cause on our system. However, depending on the strength of the storm, sometimes that is not enough.”
In the event of a major storm, we recommend you have on hand the following items:
- A flashlight with extra batteries
- A weather radio
- A portable radio with batteries
- Non-perishable food items
- Any needed medical supplies
- Containers of drinking water
“Please be cautious as a storm approaches,” Davis said. “Strong winds can tear down power lines. Any dangling lines or lines on the ground should be treated as energized. Please stay away from them and call us at 1-800-556-2060.”
Alabama Department of Public Health urges safety precautions during major storms
The Alabama Department of Public Health recommends all families take health and safety precautions in the event of an approaching storm.
To prepare of a hurricane event, these safety precautions should be followed:
Power outages associated with a hurricane can cause concern about the safety of frozen and refrigerated foods. The ADPH advises that as a general rule, a full upright or chest freezer will keep foods frozen for about two days without power.
A partially full freezer will keep foods for about one day. This time may be extended by keeping the door shut. A refrigerator will keep foods cool for four to six hours if the door is kept shut as much as possible.
The CDC advises that the public should never use generators, grills, camp stoves or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, basement, garage or camper.
CO is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death if breathed. When power outages occur during emergencies, people often try to use alternative sources of fuel for heating, cooling and cooking. CO from these sources can build up in the home and poison the people and animals inside.
If a storm causes damages where you must use a chainsaw for clean-up the CDC advises the following safeguards while using a chain saw
- Operate and maintain saw according to manufacturer’s instructions
- Properly sharpen blades and properly lubricate to ensure good cutting action
- Choose the proper size chain saw to match the job
- Wear appropriate protective equipment including: hard hat, safety glasses, hearing protection, heavy work gloves, cut resistant leg wear, and boots that cover the ankles.
- Avoid contact with power lines
- Always cut at waist level
- By standers or coworkers should remain at least two tree lengths away from anyone felling a tree.
When your power is off, we’re on the line
South Alabama EC’s After Hours Outage Reporting System makes it easy for you to report a power outage. Our system answers calls faster and records messages quickly. It has 48 phone lines to handle incoming calls – reducing the busy signals and providing you with the comfort of knowing your message has been received.
To report an outage, follow the easy step-by-step reporting instructions:
- Dial 1-800-556-2060
- Enter your area code and seven digit phone number
- Follow the recorded instructions
The After Hours Outage Reporting System uses your telephone number to locate the power outage so it’s important we have your correct phone number on file.
We are committed to providing you with continued reliable service, and we are dedicated to faster outage response.
Portable Generators can be Dangerous
People who use portable generators during a power outage should be extremely cautious, warns Ronald Wade, engineer for South Alabama EC. The improper use of these generators can cause serious injury or death.
“Some of our customers may try to hook up generators to their homes or businesses during a major outage,” Wade said. “If the generators are installed incorrectly, they can injure or even kill line crew employees who are trying to restore power.”
Wade explains that when a portable generator is hooked up to an electric circuit, the current from the generator can flow out of the home and into the transformer serving that home or business.
One the electricity goes into the transformer; it is stepped up in voltage and enters the power distribution system.
“Employees working to restore power believe the lines they are working to be de-energized or ‘dead’, says Wade. “Without knowing it, an employee can come in contact with a line that has been energized by a portable generator. He can be seriously injured or killed as a result.”
South Alabama EC offers information or assistance to anyone who has questions concerning the use of a portable generator. Please call our office at 1-800-556-2060.
“We understand the frustration of people wanting to have their power restored as soon as possible,” Wade said. “but we urge the public to consider the safety of those working hard to restore their power as well.”
Cold Weather Power Outage Tips
Living without electricity is no easy task, especially during cold weather. To help make the best of the situation, South Alabama EC offers these suggestions:
- To deal with cold weather, wrap in warm clothes. Wear several thin layers instead of one or two bulky items. Hats and thermal underwear can also help keep you warm
- Food in freezers can last for a couple of days if the door is left shut. The best rule of thumb though is, “When in doubt, throw it out.”
- Use camp stoves and grills outside, never cook with this equipment inside a closed house.
- At bedtime, use several layers of quilts or blankets. Better yet, use a sleeping bag.