Duke Energy recommends preparing for storms before they strike and offers the following tips to help reduce potential damage, injury and frustration before and after the storm.
- Keep at least one battery-powered flashlight where it can be located easily in the dark. If the power goes out, listen for storm information on a battery-powered radio. Keep extra fresh batteries.
- Before storms hit, unplug electrical appliances such as TVs, VCRs, microwave ovens, stereos and computers. Disconnect cables to your TV antenna, satellite dish or cable service.
- If you evacuate, shut off your electricity at the fuse box. When you return, check for electrical damage, such as frayed wires, downed lines, sparks or the smell of hot or burned insulation. If you find such damage, don't turn your power on until service crews have made repairs. Damage in your house must be repaired by an electrician. If you must walk through water to get to your fuse box, call an electrician for advice before doing so.
- If your power goes out, call your local power outage number to report the outage if possible. If you can see downed trees or line damage from your home, that information may be helpful, but do not go looking for line damage. Doing so can be dangerous. If you cannot call, rest assured that Duke Energy crews are aware of extensive outagesand are busy making repairs.
- Never approach a downed line or try to move it yourself. If still energized, the line will be extremely dangerous. Keep children and pets away from the area. If you see downed lines and the ground is wet or has standing water, do not go outside. Consider any line dangerous. Report any downed lines when you call Duke Energy.
- If anyone in your household suffers an electric shock, call 911 or your local emergency medical service immediately. Even minor shocks can cause life-threatening conditions hours later, so it is important to seek medical attention.
- In any power outage, Duke Energy repair crews restore service as quickly as possible, beginning with the largest lines serving the most people. Listen to a battery-powered radio for news on storm repairs. If storm damage is extensive or spread over a large area, repairs may require more time. While your patience is appreciated, Duke Energy encourages customers to pass along vital outage information as soon as possible after power is lost.
- If someone in your home depends on life-support equipment, move the individual to a safe facility to avoid the risk of an extended power outage. Facilities with back-up power or that are located beyond the storm's path are good choices. You also should have a back-up plan, such as a portable oxygen supply. Health care equipment suppliers can suggest preparations for such emergencies.
- During the storm, stay away from windows, where flying debris can cause injury. Do not use the phone or run water during lightning storms. Do not stand in water.
- Call Duke Energy's Customer Service Center at 1.800.419.6356 to report power outages. Remember that if the storm causes extensive power outages, many thousands of customers may be calling at the same time.
- Never approach downed trees containing power lines. Do not allow children to play in such trees. Do not cut up these trees. Wait for a professional tree crew to handle the trees.
- If using a generator, never connect it to your home's electrical system, which can endanger you, your neighbors and utility workers. Connect appliances directly to the generator with properly sized power cords. Make sure the generator is grounded. Follow the generator manufacturer's recommendations for safe use.
If a power outage is likely to last longer than a few hours, then those customers affected by the outage should follow these additional tips:
- Turn off your range, toaster oven, iron or other item that could cause a fire if you aren't home when the power comes back on.
- Turn off your air conditioner and water heater to prevent system overloads when power is restored. These two appliances are big users of electricity, especially after they have been off for a while. Turn them on about 30 minutes after power has been restored.
- Turn on a porch light to make it easier for Duke Energy crews to see when your power has been restored, or determine if more work is needed to restore power to your home.