unMetered Bonus 2 - How To Be Prepared in a Natural Disaster
Natural disasters often come with little to no warning. Are you prepared in the event of a natural disaster that results in a loss of power for an extended time? unMetered Bonus this week focuses on what you can do to be prepared and how to handle the situation.
The unMetered bonus material this week is how to be safe and prepared in the event of a natural disaster creating an electrical outage at your home.
Before we get to the topic at hand, we want to remind our members about where to report outage information and how to get updates about outages in your area. The easiest way to report an outage is by downloading the myMTEMC Mobile App and hitting the “Report An Outage” button. If you want to call the outage in, do so by calling 877-777-9111. Once your outage is reported, take a look at the Outage Map in the mobile app or on MTEMC.com/Outages to get more information.
Every year, the U.S. is hit by many natural disasters, including snow and ice storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and wildfires. These types of disasters pose a significant threat to our communities and homes. The most important step you can take to keep you and your family safe is to prepare beforehand, but knowing what to do during and after the event is crucial as well.
Before disaster strikes, familiarize yourself with the types of disasters that are common in our region, especially if you’re new to the area. Many of the specifics depend on what type of disaster we’re expecting, but there are several general guidelines to keep in mind as you prepare:
- Water: You will need one gallon per person per day. If you assume your family of four may be stranded for a week, store a minimum of 28 gallons.
- Food: Stock up on non-perishable or long shelf-life items, such as wheat, soybeans, canned fruits, peanut butter, jelly and condensed soups.
- First Aid Kit: Make sure your kit includes adhesive bandages (assorted sizes), antiseptic wipes, aspirin, hydrocortisone ointment, scissors and a thermometer. For a full list of suggested items, visit www.redcross.org.
- Flashlights and candles: Be sure to keep extra batteries and matches (in a waterproof container) on hand.
For additional guidance on emergency items to keep around the house, visit www.ready.gov/build-a-kit. Also, consider training offered by local emergency management services.
Some disasters occur suddenly, but many bring advance warnings, like tornados and winter storms. Pay special attention during the week leading up to the event for local and state government warnings and safety notices. Make sure every family member knows what your emergency plan is: do you stay or leave, safe rooms in the house, where supplies are located, what to do if anyone gets separated, and how to notify loved ones that you’re safe after the event. It’s also a good idea to know where your home’s main water and gas shutoff valves are located.
Middle Tennessee Electric improves the resiliency and durability of our distribution system each year, but it is possible to lose power during a storm. The outage could be momentary or last hours or even days. If you have medical equipment in your home or if it is dangerous at your home without power, consider purchasing a backup generator for extended outages. These can cost anywhere from a few hundred to few thousand dollars, depending on your needs. Be sure to have it installed by a professional and test the generator regularly to ensure it’s operating properly.
If you don’t have a backup generator and lose power, don’t panic. Most power outages are short and will not last more than a few hours. However, without knowing in advance how long the outage will last, it’s wise to assume and act as though it will last for days. Here are a few general tips for wise energy practices during a disaster:
- Check perishable and refrigerated foods first before eating in case they spoiled.
- Pack frozen foods close together and consider freezing water bottles to eliminate any air pockets. The frozen water will help keep the food cooler longer.
- Make sure you have alternative lighting sources, like candles and flashlights (with spare batteries) located throughout the home.
- Keep manual tools such as a can opener on hand to replace any electronic gadgets you typically use.
- Make sure that all cell phones are fully charged and you have an extra portable charger available. If the disaster involves lightning, unplug all electronic devices to protect against a power surge.
After the storm, be cautious when leaving your home. Listen to government warnings and use common sense when approaching any damaged buildings or fallen trees. If you see a power line down, always assume the wires are live and dangerous. Call Middle Tennessee Electric to report the downed power line at 877-777-9111 or report it through your myMTEMC Mobile App.
With a little bit of forethought, you’re highly likely to make it through a disaster without too many problems. Remember, you and your family’s safety should always come first.
For more information on disaster preparedness, visit www.ready.gov. Thanks for tuning in to this week’s bonus material. Next week we’ll be discussing how weather affects the Middle Tennessee Electric system as a whole. If you want to hear about how it affects your bill, listen to last weeks episode!