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Prepare for outages, and what to do when an outage occurs


Do you know what to do if the power goes out? Would you know where to find a flashlight or how to report an outage?

With the winter season soon upon us, the chances of a power outage occurring increases with changing weather conditions.

Being prepared and knowing what to do can help you better deal with a power outage.

BEING PREPARED 

A power outage can occur at anytime. Because they can sometimes be lengthy, every home should have provisions for dealing with a power outage. Having ready access to the following items can make all the difference.

Flashlight and extra batteries

A flashlight and extra batteries that are easy to find in the dark can be the most essential tools when trying to get things under control. Keep several flashlights handy at all times.

Candles and matches

For extended outages, candles can be used to conserve flashlight batteries. Remember, candles and matches are extremely combustible and extreme care should be taken when using them.

Do not leave a candle burning unattended, particularly when small children are present.

Oil lamps may also be used. White-gas lanterns produce carbon monoxide gas, and should not be used in tightly closed rooms.

Battery-powered radio

If the power outage is widespread or associated with other emergency situations, the radio may provide regular updates.

Emergency phone numbers

Keep emergency phone numbers handy for reporting trouble.

Regular (cord) phone

A cordless telephone cannot be used when there is no power to operate the transmitting unit. Make sure a regular phone that operates without electricity is connected in your home at all times.

Drinking water

Fresh water may not always be available. Have at least one gallon of water for each person per day. Storing water in your freezer and thawing it as needed is a good way to keep water fresh. Store-bought water is also an alternative.

First aid kit

First aid emergencies can occur at any time. Keep a first aid kit handy for all emergencies.

Blankets, sleeping bags and warm clothes

Staying warm is essential. If you are without heat for an extended period of time, it may be necessary to bundle up to stay warm.

Non-perishable foods and manual can opener

Some outages can be lengthy and it may not be possible to keep perishable foods fresh. Canned and dry foods are good to have on hand.

Cooler for frequently used foods

If kept closed, refrigerators and freezers can preserve food for up to 24 hours. If opened, however, their cold air escapes. Use a cooler for storing water, drinks and frequently used food items. This will allow the refrigerator /freezer to remain cold longer.

Ample firewood or fuel supply

If you use a woodstove, fireplace or stove burning propane or oil, keep an ample supply of fuel handy during the winter months. As a precaution, make sure your stove will operate properly without electricity. Forced air furnaces will not, as they use electricity for the fan to circulate the heat.

Properly installed generator (optional)

A portable generator is an optional source of electricity during a power outage. However, a generator can cause serious injury or death if not connected and used properly. Use appliances that directly plug into the generator. If the generator is connected to the electric panel, a transfer switch and state electrical inspection are required. Otherwise, the generator can backfeed into the utility electric system, energizing supposedly dead wires and creating a deadly danger to lineman working to restore power.

REPORTING AN OUTAGE

When a power outage occurs, customer cooperation in reporting it will greatly aid line crews in identifying the extent of the trouble and making repairs. Here are some helpful tips when reporting an outage:

Check breakers and fuses in your own home to make sure they are not tripped or blown

Overloading the breakers and/or fuses can cause a power outage on the customer's side of the meter. A simple breaker/fuse check can avoid a trouble call and a possible service charge to the customer if the outage is caused by a problem in his or her own home, such as an obvious tripped breaker or blown fuse.

Check to see if your neighbor has power and/or your yard light is on at night

This can help you determine if the outage is limited to your service, or if it also affects other customers on the system.

Call KPUD's outage line

Once you have determined the power outage is in the utility system, use one of the following outage phone numbers for reporting

Goldendale 773-5891(local) or 800-548-8357(toll-free)
White Salmon 493-2255(local) or 800-548-8358(toll-free)

When you contact a KPUD representative, be patient, courteous and prepared to give the following information:

Your Name & Phone Number
Name on the account
Service Address and description (ie. house, pump, business)

Knowing your account number and meter number will also aid line crews in promptly locating your service.

If you hear an explosion or see a flash of light when the power goes out, this is a good indication a line fuse has blown.