Preparing for Severe Weather
Every day, Pepco works hard to provide you with safe, economical and reliable electric service. However, despite our best efforts, occasional power outages are unavoidable. Sometimes the reason for an outage is clear, such as a major thunderstorm. Other times, the reason may not be as readily apparent to our customers. Whatever the cause of a power outage, we understand the inconvenience and hardship that loss of power presents, and greatly appreciate your patience as we work to restore service as quickly as possible.
Important Safety Tips
If you see a downed power line, stay away from it. Assume that all downed power lines are live and extremely dangerous. Don’t touch any person or object that is in contact with a power line; the current could flow through you. Immediately call the emergency service number at 1-877-PEPCO-62 to report downed wires. Call 911 only if there is an associated emergency such as a fire, automobile accident or, if medical assistance is required. Also:
- Never attempt to remove trees or limbs from any utility line. Assume all objects touching a power line are energized.
- If you use a portable generator during a power outage, always operate it outside, away from doors and windows to avoid deadly carbon monoxide.
- If you have a flooded basement, never attempt to turn off power or operate circuit breakers while standing in water.
Plan Ahead for a Storm – What You Can Do Now
Disaster can strike at any time and planning ahead is essential. Here are some things you can do right now to prepare your business for an emergency:
- Make a Plan. Decide who will be responsible for certain key roles, and collect emergency contact information from employees, suppliers, insurance companies and your local utilities. Develop a communication or call-out plan if you must relocate your business.
- Assemble an emergency “storm kit.” Include a battery-operated radio or television, flashlight, a first-aid kit, a copy of your contact information, extra batteries, special needs items, basic tools, water and non-perishable food in case you have to shelter in place, and a floor plan of your business marked with emergency shut-off information.
- Check your insurance policies. Verify what is covered and not covered, and find out about separate flood insurance. Photograph or videotape your facility, inventory and supplies. Store the information off site.
- Review your plan on a regular basis, and conduct regular drills and training with your employees.
- Protect your electronic equipment. Plug computers and other sensitive equipment into surge suppressors, and consider a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) for temporary battery back-up power.
- Learn first aid and CPR.
- Identify employees with special needs who may need assitance if you must evacuate.
- Encourage your employees to develop household emergency plans.
When a Storm Threatens – Stay Safe and Informed
- Locate your emergency “storm kit” and check your supplies of bottled water and non-perishable food.
- If a major storm is forecast, make sure your employee contact information is up to date and let them know if you may need to implement your emergency plan.
- Tune in to local news broadcasts or NOAA weather radio.
- Take cover if recommended.
- Unplug sensitive electronics and turn off power to flood-prone appliances if it is safe to do so. However, if you have an electrically operated sump pump, you should not turn off your power.
- Close your business in time to allow employees to prepare their homes or evacuate if so ordered.
If Your Electricity is Out – Key Steps to Take
Check to see if your neighbors are without power, too. If they have power and you do not, the problem could be a tripped circuit breaker within your own facility. If the circuit breaker does not appear to be the problem, call Pepco at 1-877-Pepco-62 (1-877-737-2662) to report your outage.
- Call the emergency service number, 1-877-PEPCO-62 to report downed wires, burning wires or struck poles.
- Unplug or turn off all appliances that will come on when the power returns - they may overload our circuits. Leave a lamp switched on so you will know when the power is restored. Then you can turn your appliances back on, one at a time, over a 20-minute period.
- Keep freezer and refrigerator doors shut; open them only when absolutely necessary. Food will stay frozen for 36 to 48 hours in a fully loaded freezer if you keep the door closed. A half-full freezer will keep food frozen for 24 hours.
- Close shades or curtains to keep rooms cooler in warm weather. During the winter, let the sun warm rooms during the day and close shades and curtains at night.