Monsoon season has officially started, which means Arizonans can expect intermittent bouts of pelting rains, high winds and dangerous lightning strikes. The inclement weather, particularly the winds and lightning, are a common cause of summertime electric outages.
Tips to help prepare for a potential power interruption and to stay safe if one does occur are:
If an outage occurs, don’t assume your utility company is aware you’ve lost power. But before you call, first check your neighborhood. If yours is the only home without power, check to see if a main fuse is blown or a main circuit breaker is tripped.
Always have the following items handy: battery-operated radio, flashlights, an ample supply of batteries and at least one telephone that is not cordless. The entire family should know where the flashlights are stored before an outage occurs. Do not use candles as a source of light.
Stay away from downed power lines. In fact, stay away from all downed lines. Even if you believe it’s a cable or telephone line, the dangers of electricity are simply too great to take any chances. Assume all lines are energized. In the case of a downed line, immediately call 911 and the utility company.
Turn off and unplug all major appliances and sensitive equipment. However, do not turn off the refrigerator or freezer. Chances are you may forget to turn them back on once power is restored. Even with the power off, food will stay frozen 12 to 24 hours – as long as the refrigerator and freezer doors are kept closed. Keep at least one light on so you know when power is restored.
If a power line comes into contact with your car while you’re in it, stay in the vehicle. Try to attract attention by blowing the horn. Remain calm in the vehicle until help arrives. Keep others away. If you must leave, jump and land with both feet together, being careful not to touch the vehicle and ground at the same time. Once on the ground, either hop with both feet or shuffle to move at least 50 feet away from the vehicle.