As we prepare to ring in spring, like many of you, I welcome more opportunities to be outdoors. Tending to our dormant gardens or enjoying a baseball game are a few activities that come to mind.
But our sprint into summer months also make conditions right for dangerous storms. When major storms knock out power, our line crews take all necessary precautions before they get to work on any downed lines. I would encourage you to also practice safety and preparedness to protect your family during major storms and outages.
During the coming spring and summer months, in the event of a storm, consumer-members statewide can access power outages in real time at www.oaec.coop. The free statewide outage map automatically refreshes every 15 minutes to reflect outage information from most of the state’s electric cooperatives.
In the event of a prolonged power outage, turn off major appliances, TVs, computers and other sensitive electronics. This will help avert damage from a power surge, and will also help prevent overloading the circuits during power restoration. That said, do leave one light on so you will know when power is restored. If you plan to use a small generator, make sure it’s rated to handle the amount of power you will need, and always review the manufacturer’s instructions to operate it safely.
If you do have a storm shelter, Oklahoma storm shelter registration is managed by the city or county depending on where you live. Some locations have online forms while others may require residents to call or submit a paper form. Having an up-to-date registry helps first responders find residents who may be unable to get out of their shelters after a storm.
Advance planning for severe storms or other emergencies can reduce stress and anxiety caused by the weather event and can lessen the impact of the storm’s effects. Sign up for NOAA emergency alerts and warnings and visit www.ready.gov for additional resources.
I hope we don’t experience severe storms, but I recommend you act today. No matter the forecast, there is power in planning.
By Chris Meyers
General Manager | Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives