Unfortunately, severe storms and even hurricanes are a part of living in the Carolinas and Florida. Once the violent weather safely passes, however, Duke Energy believes you still need to keep safety in mind. Depending on the extent of the damage and rescue operations, it may not be safe to return to your home immediately. Pay attention to notices issued by your local authorities.
If you are able, be sure to help others who might be in need of assistance. Remember your neighbors who have infants, the elderly, or those who have disabilities.
- If you see power, cable or phone lines that are down in your yard or in the street, always treat them as if they were energized and dangerous. Never touch them! Stay at least 20 feet away. Call Duke Energy to report the location so repairs can be made as soon as possible.
- Post-storm debris can hide power lines that have fallen. Trees may also contain lines that have fallen. A metal fence, pond or standing water could be energized by lines touching them elsewhere. Even the ground can be energized near fallen lines. Approach these items with caution, keeping in mind that the real danger might be hidden.
- During post-storm cleanup, don't pile debris on the road or near utility poles or other electrical devices. Doing so only hampers the restoration process by making it difficult for repair crews to access power lines.
- If your electric service is out, be sure to check with your neighbors to see if they have power. If they do, you may have only a blown fuse or a tripped circuit. Never replace a fuse or reset a circuit breaker with wet hands or while standing on a wet (or even damp) surface, and remember not to touch the metal breaker box. If you need to reset your breakers, use a dry wooden stick or a piece of PVC pipe, but only work with one hand – put the other behind your back. If the fuse blows or circuit breaker trips again, don't try to reset it. You will need assistance from a trained electrician.
- If you're without electricity and want to use a portable generator, make sure you use it in a well-ventilated area. Don't connect the generator to your home's electrical circuits, panel or fuse boxes. It may cause electricity to feed back into the power lines interfering with other service. This could well put emergency repair crews, as well as you and your neighbors, at great risk of being electrocuted by fallen lines that you have energized in the process.
- If possible, avoid using candles – a camping lantern is safer. If you must use candles, remember that open windows and gusty winds can knock them over or blow flammable materials into them, so be careful about where you place them.
- If your power is out following a storm and you must cook food with Sterno or charcoal, remember to do so outside in a well-ventilated area. An accumulation of carbon-monoxide fumes indoors can be deadly.
- Be sure to wear hard sole shoes if you walk around outside to protect your feet, and try to avoid driving as much as possible. After a storm, debris clogs roads and can cause vehicles to get flat tires blocking the road further. Keep roads clear for emergency workers and utility crews trying to restore service.
- Help restoration crews if asked but let them do their job. Remember that the electrical system damaged by storms has to be repaired in a certain order.