The latest wave of freezing rain, ice and snow could cause power outages in the area over the next several days. The nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) offers the following tips for residents to stay safe and even comfortable during a loss of power:
1. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. Avoid opening the refrigerator or freezer.
2. Unplug or disconnect any electrical devices that were in use when the power went out. Turn off all lights but one, to alert you when power resumes.
3. Check on elderly neighbors, friends or relatives who may need assistance during the outage.
4. Do not use candles as they pose a fire hazard. Always keep a supply of flashlights, batteries and a battery-powered radio on hand.
5. Do not call 9-1-1 for information — that’s what your battery-powered radio is for (see above). Also, do not call 9-1-1 to let the emergency dispatcher know your power is out. He or she will not notify the power company for you. Get those numbers together now (see below).
6. Wear many layers and use blankets to keep warm while the power is out.
9. If you have a generator, remember to never run it inside a home or garage. Use gas-powered generators only in well-ventilated areas.
10. Connect only individual appliances to portable generators. The are not designed to power your house.
11. Don’t plug emergency generators into electric outlets or hook them directly to your home’s electrical system – as they can feed electricity back into the power lines, putting you and line workers in danger.
When power returns
12. When power comes back on, it may come back with momentary “surges” or “spikes” that can damage equipment such as computers and motors in appliances like the air conditioner, refrigerator, washer or furnace. Hence instruction number 2 — unplug everything while the power is out.
13. When power is restored, wait a few minutes before turning on major appliances to help eliminate further problems caused by a sharp increase in demand.
Learn more about FLASH and gain access to its free consumer resources by visiting www.flash.org or calling (877) 221- SAFE (7233).
Report power outages to right agency
If you are experiencing a true emergency, always call 9-1-1. If you see power lines down, you should always assume they are live and stay away from them and any wet ground near them. For power outages, call the following numbers:
Duke Energy Progress: 1-800-POWERON (800-769-3766)
Wake Electric: 919.863.6499 or toll free 800.743.3155, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Wake Forest Power: To report power outages or emergencies, such as downed power lines, on weekdays between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., call 919-435-9570. For all other times, including nights, holidays and weekends, call 919-554-6724. Wake Forest Power employees are available 24-hours-a-day to respond.