Preparing Your Home for Storms
Eastern Maine Electric Co-op line crews and contractors work year-round to prepare the system for storms, but no utility has found a way to prevent outages from happening from time to time. Each season brings its weather-related threats, including heavy wet snow or ice storms in the winter, thunderstorms and lightning in the spring and summer, and windstorms and heavy rain in the fall.
By making some simple preparations, you can make outages less stressful for your family and yourself.
- Keep EMEC’s phone numbers by the telephone: (207) 454-7555 or (800) 696-7444.
- Keep a storm kit ready. You should not wait until a hurricane, ice storm, or windstorm is bearing down on Eastern Maine for this step, because some outages happen with little warning (for example, traffic-related accidents or other equipment failures). Storm kits should include the following:
- A first aid kit and family prescription medications.
- Extra blankets for each member of the family.
- At least one regular (corded) phone. The convenience of cordless phones has made them very popular, but they stop working when the power goes out. A corded phone will still work during most outages, allowing you to call out for information and to report the outage. Even if you have a cellular phone, keep in mind that the backup power to cell towers may shut down if the outage lasts long enough.
- At least one battery-operated radio. During lengthy outages (six hours or more), local radio stations can become increasingly important sources of information.
- At least one flashlight for every member of the family.
- Batteries for your flashlights and radios.
- Canned food for three days and a non-electric can opener. Most outages are over in hours, of course, but severe storms may leave damage that last several days. In most instances, having a three-day supply of food will take a family through the worst of the storm. For obvious reasons, families will want food that does not require heating or refrigeration.
- Three gallons of drinking water per family member. A healthy adult will need one gallon of water per day, so this will prepare your family for a three-day outage. (While some local residents have access to city water during power outages, the majority of Eastern Mainers get water from electricity-powered wells.)
- When a storm is on its way, gas up your car before it arrives. During widespread disasters, gas stations may not have electricity to pump gasoline.
- If you have a medical need for electricity, make sure EMEC knows. During lengthy outages, the Co-op makes an extra effort to provide updated outage information to those members who need electricity to power oxygen pumps or other medical equipment.
- If you have a medical need for electricity, have a relocation plan which answers the following questions:
- What services, electrical and otherwise, must I have to protect my health in an emergency?
- Where will I go to find those services if my home is without power for more than a few hours?
- Who will take me there in an emergency?
- Have I made sure that person knows I am relying on them for transportation in an emergency?