While disasters can be unexpected, there are many ways to prepare before one strikes. September is National Preparedness Month, and we encourage you to educate yourself about emergency preparation, and take steps now to be ready. Here a few ways to become better prepared this September.
Make a Family Plan
If your family doesn’t already have one, make an emergency preparedness plan. All family members, including children, should have your plan memorized. Ready.gov is a great resource for guidelines, and family communication tips.
Assemble a Kit
In the event of an emergency; you could be without resources for an extended period of time. Having an emergency supply kit is essential. Below we’ve provided a checklist to reference when creating your own kit.
Emergency Supply Kit Checklist
Water – a three day supply (1 gallon a day per family member)
Food – non-perishable items that do not need to be heated
Battery powered or hand crank radio
Manual can opener
Extra blankets and bedding
List of emergency contact phone numbers
Elderly family members, children and pets may have additional special needs which should be considered when preparing your kit. For example, special medications, games for children or pet food. Consider involving all family members when creating the kit, so everyone is familiar with the supplies. Store your kit in a safe and dry place that is easily accessible.
Preparing for Power Loss
If the power goes out, know how to stay safe. Here are a few tips:
Report outages and downed wires by calling 1-877-737-2662 or online at pepco.com, or by downloading our mobile app.
Avoid downed wires and working crews
Locate your emergency kit
Unplug lamps, TVs and appliances
Keep refrigerator and freezer doors shut
For more information about emergency preparedness, please visit pepco.com.
Weather can be unpredictable, but taking a little time to prepare before a storm strikes can help you stay safe and connected to information in the event of severe weather. We encourage you to review this information and take steps to prepare now.
Before a Storm Strikes Assemble an emergency storm kit with bottled water, nonperishable foods, blankets, flashlights and extra batteries, a first-aid kit and hand tools. Be sure to stock prescriptions, special medical or infant supplies and other essentials. Then develop and practice an emergency plan with everyone in your household.
If you rely on emergency or life-support equipment such as a respirator or kidney dialysis machine, our Emergency Medical Equipment Notification Program (EMENP) can provide advanced notice of severe storms and scheduled outages. Visit pepco.com/EMENP to learn more.
If severe weather is approaching, charge cell phones and mobile devices, protect and unplug electronics and fill your tub if your water supply depends on electricity. Be sure to download our mobile app to help you stay connected to information.
If Power Goes Out
Restoring power safely takes time. Follow these steps to minimize the effect of an outage in your home.
Unplug or turn off TVs, appliances and lights, keeping one lamp switched on so you know when power has been restored
Keep freezer and refrigerator doors closed
Close blinds and shades to keep rooms cool
Always operate portable generators outside, away from doors and windows so deadly fumes won’t enter your home or garage
Drink plenty of water and avoid overheating
When conditions are safe, check on elderly or home-bound neighbors who may be vulnerable to heat stress
Violent storms are more frequent in a changing world, and it is essential to be prepared. For us, that means planning thoroughly before weather threatens, responding quickly when a storm hits, and restoring power as safely and quickly as possible in the event of an outage. Safety is our top priority and we encourage you to review these tips to prepare and stay safe when severe weather strikes.
Before a Storm
Assemble an emergency storm kit that contains items you’ll need in the event of a prolonged power outage:
Flashlights and extra batteries
Battery-powered radio or TV
Land-line phone with cord (cordless phones require electricity)
Supply of bottled water (one gallon per person per day)
First-aid kit and prescription medications
Blankets, bedding or sleeping bags
Hand-operated can opener
Special medical or infant supplies
Variety of hand tools
List of emergency phone numbers
Develop and practice an emergency plan with everyone in your household
Make sure cell phones are charged and download the Pepco Self-Service app (pepco.com/mobileapp) for your mobile device so you can report outages, get estimated restoration times, access interactive outage maps, and call us through a direct dial link
During a Storm
Locate your emergency storm kit
Tune in to local news broadcasts
Never go near downed wires and always stay clear of working crews
Avoid wet and ﬂooded areas as electricity and water are a dangerous combination
Unplug or turn off TVs, appliances and most lamps, and leave one lamp switched on so you know when power is restored
Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed
Close shades or curtains to keep rooms cooler
Be safe around candles and open ﬂames
If you are operating a generator, make sure that you follow all safety guidelines
Our Power Restoration Process
Our restoration process begins once the storm has passed and conditions are safe for our professionals. The video below shows the order that we approach systems to help ensure quick and safe restoration of power.
We have mobilized more than 1,600 employees and contractors including field crews, call center representatives and support staff prepared to meet our customers’ needs during this winter storm. Although weather conditions have not been as severe as some forecasts, we are prepared to respond to outages, and customers should expect the possibility of outages through the night.
Our parent company, Pepco Holdings Inc., has received commitments for more than 400 mutual assistance personnel from as far away as Alabama, some of whom started arriving Tuesday to assist with the power restoration effort throughout our Mid-Atlantic service territory.
After a severe storm, we will restore power by targeting wires serving critical infrastructure, such as hospitals, fire stations, and police stations, as well as those serving the greatest number of customers. It is important that customers report their outage and request a call back to verify their power has been restored.
Customers are asked to please call in any outages and stay away from any down wires. To report outages and/or downed wires, please call 1-877-737-2662. For more information and updates, follow us on Facebook and Twitter at PepcoConnect, and download our mobile app at www.pepco.com/mobileapp.
We are closely monitoring the changing forecasts and preparing for the worst of the predictions. Mutual assistance crews from Alabama and Georgia have begun to arrive. We have requested over 300 mutual assistance crews for the storm restoration effort.
We have more than 450 overhead line contractors already working on the system and available, along with over 300 tree contractor crews actively performing reliability enhancement tree trimming work, in addition to preparing for restoration work.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the Washington Metropolitan Area from Tuesday evening to Wednesday evening. Weather forecasts are still changing, but some predict snow accumulations of about a foot through the Pepco region with wind gusts of up to 35 mph. A Winter Storm Watch means there is also a potential for significant sleet and/or ice.
Heavy, wet snow, ice, and high winds can bring tree limbs into contact with power lines to cause power outages. Heavy rain and oversaturated soil can cause trees already weakened by previous storms to fall onto power lines and equipment to cause power outages. Outages can also occur due to drivers skidding into utility poles along wet roads.
Customers are asked to please report any outages and stay away from any down wires. To report outages and/or downed wires, please call 1-877-737-2662, follow the prompts, and please ask for a call back to confirm that power has been restored. Call Centers are staffed and operational 24 hours a day through this event. Outages also may be reported through our website or through our mobile app.
We are closely monitoring an approaching winter storm. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the Washington Metropolitan Area from Tuesday evening to Wednesday evening. Weather forecasts are still changing, but some predict snow accumulations of more than a foot of snow through the Pepco region with up to 17 inches predicted in some locations in Montgomery County. We also expect wind gusts of up to 35 mph. A Winter Storm Watch means there is also a potential for significant sleet and/or ice. We are preparing for the worst of the forecasts.
Heavy, wet snow; ice; and high winds can bring tree limbs into contact with power lines to cause power outages. Heavy rain and oversaturated soil can allow trees already weakened by previous storms to fall onto power lines and equipment to cause power outages. Outages can also occur due to drivers skidding into utility poles along wet roads.
We will have extra line and tree crews available, and the Call Center will be staffed overnight. In addition to internal crews, we have more than 450 overhead line contractors already working on the system available if needed. Pepco Holdings Inc. (PHI), parent company for Pepco, is also asking for more contractor support and has asked for 250 mutual assistance crews from other utilities. We also have almost 300 tree contractors already working on our system.
Customers are asked to please call in any outages and stay away from any down wires. To report outages and/or downed wires, please call 1-877-737-2662, follow the prompts, and please ask for a call back to confirm that power has been restored. Outages also may be reported on our website or through our mobile app.
Winter storms can bring high winds, snow, sleet, ice and even a combination of precipitation. Heavy snow and ice can cause outages by bringing trees and branches down on power lines, while ice and sleet create slick road conditions that can cause vehicle accidents that damage poles and other electrical equipment.
We closely monitor the weather and mobilize work crews before a storm hits to ensure that we respond as quickly and safely as possible should storm damage occur. Safety is our top priority, and we encourage you to review these tips and precautions to prepare for the worst of winter weather.
Before a Storm Strikes
Develop and practice an emergency plan with everyone in your household.
Assemble an emergency storm kit containing bottled water, non-perishable foods, blankets, flashlights and fresh batteries, first-aid kit and prescription medications, special medical or infant supplies, tools and other essential items.
Purchase a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector for your home if you plan to use an alternative source of heat.
Fill your bathtub with water if your water supply depends on electricity.
Make sure cell phones are charged.
Protect and unplug electronic equipment.
Ensure your contact information is up to date with Pepco (have your account number available, call 202-835-1007 and say “update phone number”).
Download the Pepco Self-Service app on your mobile device so you can access outage maps, get restoration estimates, report outages and call us through a direct dial link should the power go out.
If Power Goes Out
If possible, gather in a central room that has an alternative source of heat such as a fireplace or wood stove.
Keep freezer and refrigerator doors shut.
Open window shades to let the sun warm rooms during the day; close the shades at night to keep warmth in.
Dress in loose layers for warmth and flexibility.
If the indoor temperature drops to 55 degrees Fahrenheit or below, open your faucets slightly so they constantly drip to prevent pipes from freezing.
When conditions are safe, check on elderly or home-bound neighbors.
Heating Without Power
If using a portable generator during a power outage, always operate it outside, away from doors and windows to prevent deadly carbon monoxide fumes from entering the home.
Don’t use a gas range for heating a room or use charcoal to heat or cook indoors.
Keep children and pets away from any open flames.
Use a carbon monoxide detector to keep you and your family safe. Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless.
When snow piles up, it’s important to keep areas outside your home clear.
Clear snow from access areas to your home and make sure to clear snow accumulation from appliance vents and heat pumps outside your home to ensure they can operate safely.
Remember to take breaks while clearing snow and avoid over exerting yourself.