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MEMA Issues Power Outage Safety Tips

Extended Loss of Power, During and After a Hurricane, Is a Real Possibility

FRAMINGHAM, MA – Throughout this hurricane season the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) continues urges residents to prepare for the possible impacts of a hurricane or tropical storm. These storms can bring strong winds that cause widespread power outages.

“As we have experienced in recent years with a variety of storms, accompanying strong winds have the capability to topple utility poles and trees, as well as snap tree limbs causing them to fall on power lines and disrupt electrical service,” warns MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz. “It is important to plan for prolonged power outages and learn the practical steps you can take to keep your family safe.”

While power is often restored in a reasonably short time, history has shown that more destructive hurricanes and tropical storms can cause prolonged power outages because restoration is hindered by multiple downed trees and wires, debris blocking roads, and flooding that limits the utility companies’ ability to address issues. MEMA offers the following tips for preparing for, and dealing with a longer term power outage:

  • Check flashlights and portable radios to ensure that they are working.
  • A radio is an important source of weather and emergency information during a storm.
  • Flashlights are safest for lighting, unlike candles which can be a fire hazard.
  • Fully charge your cell phone, laptop, and any other devices before the storm.
  • Ensure that you have extra batteries as part of your family’s emergency kit.
  • If you own a car, purchase a car phone charger so that you can charge your phone if you lose power at your home.
  • Download the Massachusetts Alerts free app to your smartphone to receive important weather alerts and messages from MEMA.
  • Consider purchasing a generator to provide power during an outage. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines when using a generator.
  • Always use outdoors, away from windows and doors. Carbon Monoxide fumes are odorless and can quickly accumulate indoors.
  • Never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator directly into household wiring, a practice known as “backfeeding.” This is extremely dangerous and presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer. It also bypasses some of the built-in household circuit protection devices.
  • Don’t get overheated. If the power goes out when it is hot outside, stay in the lowest level of your home where it will be coolest, put on light-weight, light-colored clothing, and drink lots of water. Remember to give your pets and/or service animals fresh, cool water; and if you need it, see if your community has “cooling centers” or shelters open.
  • Do not call 9-1-1 to report your power outage or to ask for information; use 9-1-1 only for emergencies. Contact your utility company to report the outage and get restoration information.
  • Check in on friends, family, and neighbors, particularly those most susceptible to extreme temperatures and power outages such as seniors and those with access and functional needs.

For more important the full release from MEMA