Power Outage Survival: Tips to Help You Stay Prepared

Equipment failure, storms, wildlife and public damage could cause a power outage at any time. Gilbert McFadden, line technician instructor at TCC South, has developed a series of tips to help keep Texans safe, further underscoring the College’s commitment to serving the community.

  1. Awareness
  • Be aware of weather conditions – watch the sky for dangerous signs.
  • Visually inspect electric lines for intruding elements such as trees or for wires hanging down. DO NOT TOUCH FALLEN WIRES.
  • If your service is off or you see fallen wires, please call your provider.
  1. Be prepared
  • Have necessary items on hand for survival mode such as:
    • LED flash lights with fresh/good batteries – LED bulbs use less battery power.
    • Blankets available – especially in cold weather.
    • Food you can eat without cooking it including fruits and dried items like beef jerky.
    • Bottled water and drinks.
  • Make sure your pets are safe – they need to be protected as well.
  • Keep a weather radio that uses batteries – your television will be off. Some hand crank models will charge the cell phone.
  1. Actions to avoid
  • Do not open the freezer or refrigerator doors – they will retain cold air for a long time if unopened.
  • Do not turn on switches or appliances to see if they work. In fact, turn off any burners, lights, fans and heaters being used when power is lost.
  • Do not turn the thermostat up or down – turn it off until power is restored.
  1. After the storm passes or the power is restored
  • Do a careful visual check for fallen lines, trees down or house damage. AGAIN – DO NOT TOUCH FALLEN LINES. Wires on the ground could be energized.
  • Report any damage of any kind to the proper authorities.
  • Check your house system for proper operation after power is restored.
  • If your neighbors’ power is on and yours is still off, call your provider again. It’s possible your service or transformer may be damaged while the neighbors’ was not.
  • Know a phone number for an electrician prior to having outages.
  1. Conditions that cause outages
  • Lightning and rain
  • Wind
  • Tornadoes
  • Hurricanes
  • Heat in the summer – overload
  • Ice and cold in the winter – overload
  • Overgrown trees in customer right-of-way (easement)
  • Vehicles hitting utility poles or pad mount (on the ground) transformers
  • Customer equipment failure

For more information about the Electrical Line Technician program at Tarrant County College South, visit http://catalog.tccd.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=4&poid=881.