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Potential Storm Effects: Power Outage Tips from the Experts

Con Ed is prepped in case the storm brings heavier snow, higher winds than expected. You should be, too.

Snow accumulating on tree limbs can lead to downed power lines, even if a storm lacks the strong winds that usually knock trees down. 

So as Winter Storm Janus (named by the Weather Channel) moves through the region, we offer you some notes from Con Edison and some tips from the nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes.

Customers can report downed power lines, outages and check service restoration status at www.conEd.com or by calling 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633).  When reporting an outage, customers should have their Con Edison account number available, if possible, and report whether their neighbors also have lost power. The company is in contact with the Westchester County Department of Emergency Services to coordinate storm response if needed.

Customers who report outages will be called by Con Edison with their estimated restoration times as they become available.

Also, download Con Edison’s new free iPhone and Android app, My conEdison, to report and check the status of a power problem, and view the company’s interactive online outage map. 

Depending on the severity of storm damage, crews will give priority to restoring equipment that will provide power to the most customers as quickly as possible, then restore smaller groups and individual customers who are without power.

 Click here to see a video on the restoration process: Con Edison restoration video.

Con Edison offers the following safety tips:

  • If you see downed electrical wires, do not go near them. Treat all downed wires as if they are live. Never attempt to move them or touch them with your hands or any object. Be mindful that downed wires can be hidden from view by tree limbs, leaves, snow or water.
  • Report all downed wires to Con Edison and your local police department immediately. If a power line falls on your car while you’re in it, stay inside the vehicle and wait for emergency personnel.
  • If your power goes out, disconnect or turn off appliances that would otherwise turn on automatically when service is restored. If several appliances start up at once, the electric circuits may overload.
  • Check to make sure your flashlights and any battery-operated radios are in working order. Make sure you have a supply of extra batteries.
  • Weather updates and news on restorations of electrical service can be heard on most local radio and television stations.


In addition, the nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) offers the following tips to keep families safe and comfortable:

Family Safety

1. Include power outages in your family disaster plan, identifying alternate means of transportation and routes to home, school or work.

2. Keep extra cash on hand since an extended power outage may prevent you from withdrawing money from automatic teller machines or banks.

3. Keep your car fuel tank at least half-full, gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.

4. During a power outage, resist the temptation to call 9-1-1 for information–that’s what your battery-powered radio is for.

5. Turn off all lights but one, to alert you when power resumes.

6. Check on elderly neighbors, friends, or relatives who may need assistance if weather is severe during the outage.

7. Keep a supply of flashlights, batteries and a battery-powered radio on hand. Do not use candles as they pose a fire hazard.

Keeping Warm

8. Put on layers of warm clothing. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors.

9. If you are using a gas heater or fireplace to stay warm, be sure the area is properly ventilated.

10. Go to a designated public shelter if your home loses power or heat during periods of extreme cold. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345)

Food

11. Keep a supply of non-perishable foods, medicine, baby supplies, and pet food as appropriate on hand. Be sure to have at least one gallon of water per person per day on hand.

12. Avoid opening the fridge or freezer. Food should be safe as long as the outage lasts no more than four hours.

13. Have one or more coolers for cold food storage in case power outage is prolonged. Perishable foods should not be stored for more than two hours above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

14. If you eat food that was refrigerated or frozen, check it carefully for signs of spoilage.

Generators

15. Do not run a generator inside a home or garage. Use gas-powered generators only in well-ventilated areas.

16. Connect only individual appliances to portable generators.

17. Don’t plug emergency generators into electric outlets or hook them directly to your home’s electrical system – as they can feed electricity back into the power lines, putting you and line workers in danger.

When Power Returns

18. When power comes back on, it may come back with momentary “surges” or “spikes” that can damage equipment such as computers and motors in appliances like the air conditioner, refrigerator, washer or furnace.

19. When power is restored, wait a few minutes before turning on major appliances to help eliminate further problems caused by a sharp increase in demand.

For more information, tips and resources for winter safety visit www.protect-your-home.org or  www.greatwinterweatherparty.org.


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