Preparing for an approaching storm:
- Listen to weather forecasts and plan ahead.
- If you lose power, use flashlights. Do not use candles or kerosene lamps - they can create a fatal safety hazard.
- Develop a family emergency plan that includes alternative arrangements should the need arise to leave your home. Make provisions for special needs of any family member such as the elderly, disabled, medically affected, or infants. If you are dependent on electric-powered medical equipment, you are encouraged to seek alternate arrangements (Customers with Special Needs) in the event that your electric service is interrupted.
- Keep the following items on hand:
- Fresh batteries
- A portable radio
- A manual can opener
- A battery-operated or wind-up clock
- Non-perishable food (canned and dried food)
- Make a list of emergency phone numbers (including 877.778.2222 to report an outage to BGE) and keep a personal telephone book and one corded phone or cell phone on hand.
- Keep a first-aid kit in your home and one in your car. Don't forget to include:
- Safety pins
- Rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide
- Keep one gallon of bottled water available for each person in the household for each anticipated day without electric service.
- If your home is served by well water, fill a bathtub with water for sanitation use.
- Keep cash on hand.
Protect Your Food
To protect your food, keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Food will stay frozen for 36 hours or more in a fully-loaded freezer if you keep the door closed. A half-full freezer will generally keep food frozen for 24 hours. Consider freezing containers of water ahead of time. The blocks of ice will help keep your food frozen longer.
For more information on keeping food safe during a power outage, visit the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service: ABCD's of Keeping Food Safe in an Emergency.
Protect Your Appliances and Electronic Equipment
Many home electronics are very sensitive and can be damaged during a power outage. Here are some precautions you can take to protect sensitive equipment:
- Purchase equipment with built-in surge protection or a battery-powered back-up system.
- Use electrical surge suppressors or arresters on your electronic equipment on properly grounded circuits. Most are designed to be plugged into a wall outlet.
- Plug your computers and other sensitive equipment into a separate, grounded circuit to isolate them from fluctuations caused by major appliance restarts.
- Consider having a lightning arrester installed at your main circuit panel.
- If you own a business, or have a home office, you might consider installing an uninterruptible power supply for temporary backup power for your electronic equipment.
- During a power outage, turn off all appliances, including your furnace, air conditioner, and water heater to avoid overloading circuits when power is restored to all appliances at once. Leave one lamp on so you will know when your service is restored.