September is National Preparedness Month

Storm-Kit-150x150While 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
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • Battery powered or hand crank radio
  • Prescription medications
  • Manual can opener
  • Hand tools
  • 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.

The Summer Storm Season Is Here

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

Preparing for Winter Storms

Use these helpful tips to be ready when severe weather strikes in winter.

  • Pepco_DSC0090aAssemble an emergency storm kit containing bottled water, non-perishable foods, blankets, flashlights and extra batteries, first-aid kit and prescription medications, special medical or infant supplies, hand tools and other essential items
  • If using a portable generator, always operate it outside and away from doors and windows to prevent deadly carbon monoxide fumes from entering the home
  • Purchase a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector for your home if you plan to use an alternative source of heat – carbon monoxide is not only colorless and odorless, it is deadly
  • Clear snow away from appliance vents located outside your home so your heater, clothes dryer and other appliances will continue to operate safely
  • If your home has a heat pump, clear it of snow to make sure air can circulate properly
  • Remember to take breaks while clearing snow and avoid over exerting yourself
  • When conditions are safe, check on elderly or home-bound neighbors
  • Ensure your contact information is up to date (Have your account number available, call 202-833-7500 and say “update phone number”)

For more safety tips, download and print our Storm Preparation Handbook. Please remember to report outages and downed wires by calling 1-877-737-2662, using the mobile app or by visiting our website.

Preparing for Hurricane Sandy

We are preparing for Hurricane Sandy, which has the potential to cause devastating damage to our service territory. Weather services are predicting that the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area will experience heavy rain and high winds over a sustained period, which could cause widespread and extended power outages.

As part of our restoration effort for Hurricane Sandy, we have 150 permanent linemen and 400 contract personnel available.  Our parent company, Pepco Holdings, Inc., is requesting an additional 2,500 line personnel through mutual assistance groups. The allocation of those crews who will be available will be determined when we have more detailed projections of where damage is expected to occur on our system.

 While we are mobilizing for the storm, we encourage customers to prepare for potential power outages and act to ensure their safety.

Here are some tips on preparing for Hurricane Sandy:

  • Have adequate prescription medicines and/or infant supplies on hand.
  • If a customer or someone the customer knows uses life-support equipment that requires electricity to operate, identify a location with emergency power capabilities and make plans to go there during a prolonged outage.
  • Assemble an emergency “storm kit.” Include a battery-powered radio or television, flashlight, a first-aid kit, battery-powered or windup clock, extra batteries, special needs items, an insulated cooler, and a list of important and emergency phone numbers.
  • Keep at least a three-day supply of non-perishable foods and bottled water and have a hand-operated can opener available.
  • Have a telephone with a cord or cell phone to use as a backup. Cordless telephones require electricity to operate, and will not work if there is an outage.
  • Protect electronic equipment. Unplug sensitive electronics or plug computers and other sensitive equipment into surge suppressors, and consider a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) for temporary battery backup power.
  • Turn off power to flood-prone basement appliances, if it is safe to do so. However, if the customer has an electrically operated sump pump, the customer should not turn off the power.

 Safety Tips

  • Stay away from downed wires.
  • Tune to local news broadcasts for the latest weather and emergency information.
  • Follow the advice of local emergency management officials.
  • Take cover if necessary.

Please report outages and downed wires by calling 1-877-737-2662, by visiting Pepco.com or by downloading the mobile app at www.pepco.com/mobileapp. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook to get updates on our restoration efforts.

September is National Preparedness Month

Pepco is an active participant is the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Ready Campaign, and in recognition of National Preparedness Month, I would like to share with you some tips on preparing for emergencies and what to do if you lose power.

Emergencies can range from inconvenient to devastating, and they can happen at any time. However, by taking some simple steps to prepare in advance, you can minimize their impact and make a big difference in ensuring the safety and well-being of you and your family.

Preparing for Emergencies

To prepare for emergency situations, I encourage you to assemble an emergency kit that contains the following items:

  • Flashlight, hand-held radio and battery powered clock with extra batteries for each device
  • Basic first aid kit,
  • Ice pack for cooling or first aid,
  • Insulated cooler
  • List of important and emergency contact numbers
  • A three-day supply of nonperishable food
  • A three-day supply of bottled water (one gallon per household member per day)

Keep this kit in a safe, dry place where you can easily locate it. Many people store these items next to or inside their coolers to save storage space. It’s a good idea to keep extra medications and/or infant supplies, and personal hygiene products such as diapers and toilet paper handy. I also recommend having a telephone with a cord or cell phone to use as backup – cordless telephones require electricity to operate, so they don’t work if there is an outage.

As part of your preparation, it’s important to know what you and your family will do in an emergency situation. Ready.gov provides a helpful template for you to make a plan and share it with each family member. In addition, if you or a family member needs power for critical medical equipment, you should have a contingency plan of where to go if you lose power. You can also register with our Emergency Medical Equipment Notification Program, which provides registered customers with advance notice of scheduled outages and severe weather alerts.

What to do if a storm is coming

Emergencies are often unexpected, but in cases where you have advanced notice of a potential emergency event such as a blizzard or a hurricane, you may wish to make these additional preparations:

  • Keep cash on hand, as electric ATMs or credit card readers may lose power
  • If your home is served by well water, fill a bathtub with water for sanitation use.
  • Review these food safety guidelines and make or purchase extra ice
  • Charge electronic devices and make sure that they are plugged into surge protectors
  • Tune in to local news broadcasts for the latest weather and emergency information.
  • Follow the advice of your local emergency management officials.

What to do if the lights go out

If you lose power during an emergency situation, remember to report all outages and downed wires to Pepco at 1-877-737-2662, online at Pepco.com, or by downloading our mobile app at Pepco.com/mobileapp.  If you or a family member rely on life-supporting equipment, make plans to relocate to a location with power as soon as it is safe to move.

Lastly, stay away from downed power lines and treat them as if they are energized, and steer clear of utility crews working in the street. For more information about emergency preparedness, I encourage you to visit: Ready.gov.

Have a safe and enjoyable fall season.

Mike Nappi
Supervisor, Safety Services