June 21, 2024

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Here’s what to know if your power goes out

2 min read

With summer storms bringing power outages it’s time to have a plan in place to keep you safe

WASHINGTON — Squirrels, storms, air conditioning, balloons: What do they all have in common? They can all cause power outages.

For the summer months, when power outages become much more common, it’s important to take the proper precautions to keep yourself safe.

Pete Pedersen, the Manager for Emergency Preparedness for PEPCO, gave advice on how to be prepared for outages

“If you do some prep work in advance, have that flashlight, make sure you have some contact numbers and be a little bit prepared you’re going to get through that with as little discomfort as possible,” said Pedersen.

He also recommends having a fully charged cellphone and keeping the refrigerator closed to help your food stay cold. 

“Keep your refrigerator doors closed, open them as little as possible – keep the freezer closed because it can last for several hours,” Pedersen says.

After a storm passes through and you see a downed power line, what should you do? 

Pedersen says, “First thing and always stay away. Call us immediately. Let us get a crew out there.” 

Touching down power lines could result in fourth-degree burns or even death. To keep themselves safe from those live power lines, linemen put on heavy rubber sleeves and gloves. Live power lines can be as hot as the surface of the sun. That’s nearly 10,000 degrees.

PEPCO linemen showed WUSA9 what happens to a hotdog when it touches a power line. It simulates a human hand or animal touching a live line. To be frank, it burnt to a crisp. 

So, how does the power get restored? Linemen will check to see if there are any downed power lines that could be causing a dangerous situation. If the lines are down, they will then repair or string new lines in order to restore power. They will also check fuses and transformers to make sure everything is in working condition. In the best-case scenario, this takes about an hour. Worst case, it could take days.  

If you want to keep energy usage down this summer, PEPCO recommends installing LED light bulbs, bumping up your thermostat a few degrees, closing your blinds during the day, and unplugging devices that you aren’t using. You can also sign up for alerts that let you know if you are using more energy than usual.

This summer, when the power goes out, make sure you have a plan to keep yourself and your family safe.   

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2023-05-24 01:10:43

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