With severe weather events occurring more frequently, now more than ever, it makes sense to be prepared. During a prolonged power outage or other emergency, this means having enough food, water, and supplies to last at least a few days.
In honor of National Preparedness Month in September, we want to remind members of our community about the power of preparation. While you don’t have to achieve a “doomsday prepper” level of preparedness, there are several practical steps you can take to keep you and your family safe.
Even at a modest level, preparation can help reduce stress, anxiety, and lessen the impact of an emergency event. We recommend starting with the basics. Here are general guidelines recommended by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
• Assemble a grab-and-go disaster kit. Include items like nonperishable food, water (one gallon per person, per day), diapers, formula and any baby supplies, batteries, flashlights, prescription medications, first-aid kit, battery-powered radio, and phone chargers.
• Develop a plan for communicating with family and friends (i.e., via text, social media, third party, etc.).
• Have some extra cash available; during a power outage, electronic card readers and cash machines may not work.
• Store important documents (birth certificates, property deed, etc.) in safe place away from home (for example, a bank safe deposit box).
• Keep neighbors and coworkers apprised of your emergency plans.
• Fill your car with gas.
• Organize your supplies so they are together in an easily accessible location that family members know about.
Caring for vulnerable family members
If you have older family members or those with special needs, make sure they have enough medication and supplies for a few days. If they rely on medical equipment such as oxygen, a CPAP or any other items for their health and well-being, please make sure they have extra oxygen, batteries, or other necessary supplies – enough to last them several days or more.
If they don’t live with you, arrange for a neighbor to check in on them. If a severe weather event is expected, consider having your relative stay with you or check on them daily. If you have an infant or young children, make certain that you have ample formula, diapers, medications, and other supplies on hand to weather an outage lasting several days or more.
For families with pets, having a plan in place in the event of a prolonged outage or an emergency will help reduce worry and stress especially if you need to make a decision during an emergency.
• Bring pets indoors at the first sign of a storm or other emergency. Pets can become disoriented and frightened during severe weather and may wander off during an emergency.
• Microchip your pet and ensure the contact information is up to date.
• Store pet medical records on a USB drive or in an easy-to-remember location.
• Create an emergency kit for pets (include shelf-safe food, bottled water, medications, and other supplies).
WFEC also thoughtfully prepares for nature's fury. Those efforts include crews trimming power line rights-of-way along roads and other corridors. That maintenance helps keep trees and limbs from taking down power lines. You may notice lineworkers replacing and upgrading utility poles and power lines to better withstand challenging weather conditions.
Many actions to prepare happen behind the scenes. Mechanics service our vehicles keeping crews safe and ready to get out into the field. Warehouse personnel inventory and order crucial supplies and equipment,
so it is there when needed.
Throughout the year, lineworkers work to keep their skills sharp through regular safety training sessions. Our IT department keeps cybersecurity at the highest possible level and we maintain our phone and
telecommunication systems as well.
Member services representatives and administrative personnel are ready to step into any role needed including coordinating meals for outside crews and securing accommodations for workers from other places who assist with restoration efforts. Management staff works to finalize agreements with professional contract crews so they will be on standby and ready to assist us if needed.
Your cooperative dedicates time and energy to storm preparation because you depend on us to energize your lives - from food storage to keeping mobile devices charged.
At West Florida Electric Cooperative, we care about your safety. Planning for an emergency today can give you more confidence to deal with severe weather and potential outages in the future.
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Energy Efficiency Tip
Water heaters can last up to a decade with proper maintenance. Turn down the temperature dial, test the relief valves & flush the tank twice a year.