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Power Outages

  • How do Hurricanes relate to Extreme Heat?

    This is Hurricane Preparedness Week and next week is Extreme Heat Week (May 23-27)... other than the fact that one immediately follows the other - there's another big safety concern connecting the two. Power.

    heatwave=powerHurricanes have the potential to bring down power lines resulting in power outages. Power outages during periods of extreme heat can be dangerous, and even deadly. A study done by CDC found that over 650 people die each year from exposure to extreme heat.

    Learn more: Blackouts & Brownouts: Prepare for Power Outages, Weather Ready Nation

    Blackouts can last for days, interrupting source of food, water, and warmth Blackouts can last for days, interrupting source of food, water, and warmth

    To address the risks presented by extreme heat events, federal departments and agencies are aggressively pursuing ways to help state, regional, tribal, and local communities prepare for potential extreme heat events this summer. Additionally, there is a great opportunity from the White House for you to learn more. You are invited to attend a briefing co-sponsored by the National Security Council and the Office of Science and Technology Policy on increasing community preparedness to extreme heat. This briefing will be conducted via a webinar, which may be accessed at  and will take place on May 26, 2016, from 2:00PM to 3:30PM EDT.

    And in the event that you must evacuate due to a hurricane, never leave a child or pet inside a vehicle on a hot day ... not even for a moment. Even with cracked windows, interior vehicle temperatures can rise quickly within the first 10 minutes. "Look Before You Lock!dying of thurst

  • Blackouts & Brownouts: Prepare for Power Outages

    Power Outages are the most common type of emergency, the can be very brief, or last for extended periods of time - but the location of a power outage can be as significant as the duration in judging the severity of the event in terms of a "Disaster."

    Perhaps you perceive these as unusual statements - let's explain:

    Blackout Emergency Kits Blackout Emergency Kits

    Brownouts (aka Brown Power) are when the voltage drops, causing dimming of lights and decreased power. These brownouts can occur through planned re-routing of electrical supply by the power companies, or by damage or complete outage elsewhere on the grid. While brown power isn't and emergency in of itself (although you should be concerned about the effect on sensitive electronic devices) one should consider brownouts as a warning of possible blackout.

    Although brownouts are not total power failures, they can adversely affect electrical equipment. Induction and three-phase electrical motors (like those used in industrial diesel generators) are especially at risk during a brownout, since they can overheat and their insulation can get damaged. If your main power supply is erratic and you experience frequent brownouts, you should consider investing in a backup power system that will automatically take over and provide your equipment with the necessary power when the voltage drops.

    Blackouts are the complete loss of electrical power, and are dangerous - many think, "So What?" well, think again... Aside from crime and traffic dangers in metropolitan areas, blackouts

    Blackouts can last for days, interrupting source of food, water, and warmth Blackouts can last for days, interrupting source of food, water, and warmth

    can cause serious health risks - especially for seniors and children. The biggest dangers of power outages are exposure to extreme temperatures (both heat and cold,) food poisoning (keep that food cold, or throw it out,) dangers of contaminated water supply, lack of sustenance (markets will be closed,) and physical injury - not just from stumbling around in the dark, but also many injuries occur when people try to operate equipment they are unfamiliar with (such as non--electrical heating devices and power generators.) The largest blackout in the US was in 2003, when a widespread power outage struck the Northeast leaving more than 50 million people without electricity. Power outages can happen anytime, so preparation is important. Since the length of an outage can vary from a few hours to several days, you should plan to get by without utilities for at least three days. Blackouts can happen any time.

    Both Brownouts and Blackouts are considered Power Outages, but while Brownouts can be seen as nuisances, or at worst, warning of more to come, Blackouts are a genuine emergency situation.

    While Power Outages are very common, being caused through technical and human errors as well as occurring with either localized or wide-spread effects as a result of most other disasters, their impact can vary in seriousness more by locale than by duration.

    In rural areas, homes and businesses are better equipped for power outages. In these areas, generators are more common, food and water sources are more readily available, and individuals are more often accustomed to life without automation.

    In metropolitan areas, not only is crime a concern when the power fails, but traffic snarls, food and water supplies become unsafe or unavailable, gas pumps cannot pump, families cannot reach one another physically or via regular electronic communication methods, and emergency services become overwhelmed and unable to assist.

    While a rural community can often fair well with a power outage of many days, even just a few hours without electricity can wreak havoc in a city.

    6 Tips to Prepare for Blackouts

    1. Follow energy conservation measures to keep the use of electricity as low as possible, which can help power companies avoid imposing rolling blackouts.

    2. Fill plastic containers with water and place them in the refrigerator and freezer if there's room. Leave about an inch of space inside each one, because water expands as it freezes. Chilled or frozen water will help keep food cold during a temporary power outage, by displacing air that can warm up quickly with water or ice that keeps cold for several hours without additional refrigeration.

    3. Be aware that most medication that requires refrigeration can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem. If unsure, check with your physician or pharmacist.

    4. Keep your car tank at least half full because gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.

    5. Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it. Garage doors can be heavy, so know that you may need help to lift it.

    6. Keep a key to your house with you if you regularly use the garage as the primary means of entering your home, in case the garage door will not open.

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