Allegheny Power says Be prepared for storms

June 14, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS


With tropical storm Alberto ushering in the hurricane season in Florida, people locally need to be prepared to brave thunderstorms and the power outages and flooding they can cause, Allegheny Power and local emergency services officials said.

"We encourage people to be prepared and not to wait around for the emergency to happen," said Verna Brown, emergency management coordinator for Washington County.

Brown recommends that everyone have an emergency kit, a source of water and a battery-operated radio. She also recommends that people have flashlights in case of power outages.


"There are new flashlights out, all you have to do is crank them," Brown said. "I discourage using candles," she said. "It's a fire hazard."

In a press release, Allegheny Power officials warn those who are dependent on home medical equipment to make arrangements for shelter elsewhere if their home loses power.

Brown said some manufacturers of home health-care equipment offer battery-powered versions. Small, portable generators are a good option for those confined to their homes, Brown said.

Because lightning can increase electrical surges, Allegheny Power also recommends on its Web site protecting appliances and electronics with a surge suppresser.

If a home is prone to flooding, Brown said one or two sandbags should be kept on hand to prevent water from getting to basement furnaces. Homeowners should also know how to turn off the electricity in case of flooding, she said.

Whatever the emergency, 911 is always available, even in power outages, Brown said.

Allegheny Power provides an outage reporting system that features status updates and estimated restoration time. That phone number is 1-800-255-3443.

During a major outage, Allegheny Power prioritizes repairs, first eliminating safety hazards such as fires and downed power lines, then restoring power to critical services such as hospitals before reaching its largest blocks of customers, according to its Web site.

Safety Tips

  • Have a safety kit that includes flashlights, a battery-powered radio, extra batteries, water for drinking and cooking, a portable heater and a supply of nonperishable foods.

  • Never touch a downed power line.

  • During a power outage, turn off major appliances and unplug electronics to prevent an overload when power returns.

More information is available at

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