10 Tips for staying safe before, during and after a storm
Des Moines, IA (SUBMITTED) -
Warm weather has arrived, and as many of us prepare for grill and pool season, it's also important to be aware of the dangers of summer storm season.
Flooding, tornadoes, high winds, thunderstorms and lightning all can cause damage to above-ground or underground electric lines and result in power outages.
Are you prepared?
MidAmerican Energy Company offers 10 tips for staying safe before, during and after a storm.
Before a storm
1. Prepare a safety kit. Assemble a safety kit with a flashlight, battery-powered radio, extra batteries, nonperishable food and water, a can opener, first-aid supplies, blankets, and extra cash in case local ATMs are down. Make sure the safety kit is easy to find in the dark.
2. Plan ahead with your family. Your family members may be in different places when a storm hits. Review what to do in different situations if an outage should occur. In the event that children are with a sitter or home alone, make sure everyone in your family knows where the safety kit is stored.
3. Keep your vehicle's gas tank at least half full. Gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps. Therefore, you may not be able to fill up your tank during a power outage.
4. Make arrangements for medical equipment. If you or someone in your care has a condition that requires continuous or special medication or life support systems, or if your medications require constant refrigeration, check with your physician or pharmacist for how to prepare for power outages.
5. When flooding is in the forecast, call MidAmerican Energy immediately to have service disconnected if it appears floodwaters have the potential to reach your main electrical box or electric or natural gas meter. There is no charge to disconnect and restore electric and natural gas services due to flooding.
During a Storm
6. When it comes to emergency lighting, flashlights are the best choice. Use caution and common sense in the placement of burning candles and oil lamps due to the risk of fire. Never leave candles burning when you go to bed. Keep them away from drapes and other materials that could catch fire. Avoid placing candles on low tables where pets or children could knock them off.
7. Report your outage online or by phone. If you lose power, check your fuses or circuit breakers first, then call MidAmerican Energy at 800-799-4443 or report your outage online via a mobile device by simply entering your phone number – no account login is required. Never assume someone else has reported your power outage for you. Your information helps the company's electric outage management system pinpoint the source of an outage and speed up the restoration process.
8. Monitor the outage restoration process by listening to radio reports. If you have Internet service on a mobile device, you can also view the outage map on MidAmerican Energy's website for estimated restoration times, or follow @MidAm_EnergyCo on Twitter for outage updates. Customers can also receive outage updates via text by logging into their MidAmerican Energy account and signing up for text alerts.
9. Turn off all but one light so you will notice when electricity is restored. If you have a porch light, leave it on so MidAmerican Energy crews patrolling in your area will know that power has been restored.
After a storm
10. Stay clear of downed lines. Storms bring the potential for downed trees and power lines. Use caution when stepping outside your home during a power outage; a downed power line may be just outside your door or may be hidden by brush or debris. If you see a downed line, assume it is energized and don't go near or touch it. Touching an energized power line can be fatal. Call MidAmerican Energy immediately at 800-799-4443 to report downed power lines or tree limbs hanging on power lines. Do not attempt to remove limbs yourself – leave it to the professionals.