Preparing for power outages

As much I like to sit and watch thunderstorms, I also like it when my power stays on! At Wright-Hennepin (WH), power reliability is one of our top priorities, but some things are out of our control. But whenever there is a power outage, our line crews are on the move to get power restored as quickly as possible.

Severe weather may cause an outage lasting a couple hours, sometimes days. If that were to happen, you want to make sure you are ready. Power outage preparation can ensure you and your family are safe and comfortable until the lights are back on! The following are tips on how to prepare for power outages, and what to do during extended outages from severe weather.

  • Make sure you have a flashlight with fresh batteries available.Lightning flashing over homes at night.

  • Have water on hand if you have a well, as wells require electricity to pump water.

  • If you have a sump pump, it’s a good idea to have a battery backup.

  • Know where your circuit breakers are located and how to check if a circuit is tripped.

  • Try to keep your cell phone and other important electronics charged beforehand.

  • Keep a radio with batteries on hand in case your phone dies.  

  • Prepare your children for encountering an outage or severe weather while home alone. Show them how to use a radio or smartphone to find local warnings, and make sure they’re aware of safe places to go for shelter.

  • Know how to manually open and shut your garage door.

  • Keep freezer/refrigerator doors closed as much as possible. An unopened refrigerator can keep food cold up to four hours, a freezer up to 24 hours.

  • Turn off anything you can before the power comes back on to reduce a surge.

  • Keep doors and windows closed to retain heat/cool air if necessary.

  • In the case of flooding, remember that submerged outlets and electric cords can energize water.

Severe weather and power outages may be unpredictable, but we strive to give members as much information as possible during these scenarios. That’s why WH offers outage alerts to members via text and/or email that include details and estimated restoration times. WH also posts this information on Facebook and Twitter. You can also view an outage map online and report an outage from the WH website.

Lastly, remember to stay away from downed power lines! If you do see downed lines, call 9-1-1, or contact WH at (763) 477-3100 to report the situation.

Darrell Erickson

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