Your MOST important consideration during a severe windstorm, such as we’re experiencing right now, is your and your family’s safety. Here are a few tips for you to consider during the chaos of a severe windstorm (Source: Long Island Power Authority):
- Watch for flying debris. Tree limbs may break and street signs may become loose during strong wind gusts. Keep an eye toward nearby balconies for loose objects that may fall.
- Take cover in or next to a strong building or under a shelter. Stand clear of roadways or train tracks, as a gust may blow you into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
- Use handrails where available on outdoor walkways and avoid other elevated areas such as roofs without adequate railing.
- Avoid anything that may be touching downed lines, including vehicles or tree branches. Puddles and even wet or snow-covered ground can conduct electricity in some cases. Warn others to stay away.
- Do not touch anyone who has been shocked who may be in direct or indirect contact with a power line . You may become a second victim. Get medical attention as quickly as possible by calling 911.
- When driving, keep both hands on the wheel and slow down. Watch for objects blowing across the roadway and into your path.
- Keep a safe distance from cars in adjacent lanes as strong gusts could push a car outside its lane of travel.
- Take extra care in a high-profile vehicle such as a truck, van, SUV, or when towing a trailer, as these are more prone to be pushed or even flipped by high wind gusts.
- If winds are severe enough to prevent safe driving, get onto the shoulder of the road and stop, making sure you are away from trees or other tall objects that could fall onto your vehicle. Stay in the car and turn on the hazard lights until the wind subsides.
- If a line falls on your car, stay inside the vehicle. Take care not to touch any of the metal frame of your vehicle. Honk your horn, roll down the window and warn anyone who may approach of the danger. Ask someone to call the police. Do not exit the car until help arrives, unless it catches on fire. To exit, open the door, but do not step out. Jump, without touching any of the metal portions of the car’s exterior, to safe ground and get quickly away.
In addition to the above here are the steps you should take when your power goes out:
- Report the outage to your electrical utility.
- Turn the switch to your front porch light to the “on” position. This is so that the utility workers working in your neighborhood can tell if your power is back on or not in case you are not home.
- STAY AWAY FROM DOWNED LINES ON YOUR PROPERTY OR ELSEWHERE. This cannot be stressed enough. Especially when windstorms are accompanied by wet weather. Water can help conduct the electricity from downed lines further than when dry.
- If a falling tree has damaged the line dropping from a pole to your home there’s a good chance it has also damaged the conduit that goes up to the connection point above your meter or roof line. In some cases this may even damaged your meter or main switch/panel. If this is the case the power utility company will require it be repaired by a licensed contractor and inspected BEFORE they may reconnect it to your home. Be sure to call a licensed electrical contractor right away. Electrician resources are limited in our community and they will all be very busy. It is important that you get on their schedule as soon as possible.
Please remember and respect that our communities electrical utility workers often work around the clock and in extremely hazardous conditions to restore your power. Give them room to work and your support. Let them know you care and appreciate them.