Here in Kansas we can certainly appreciate firsthand the tranquility of rural Mother Nature, from the quiet prairie sprouting in spring to the calm of a famous Kansas sunset on a warm summer night. But we’re also no stranger to the sharp swing Mother Nature can make without a moment’s notice, especially during severe weather season.
Whether it’s a blizzard in April, a spring thunderstorm with golf-ball sized hail, or a summer tornado tearing across the plains, we Kansans need to be prepared for anything that might come our way.
Wheatland Electric wants to remind you of a few ways you can stay safe and prepared during this storm season, should you experience a storm or power outage.
START NOW BY PREPARING YOURSELF, FAMILY AND HOME:
- Keep a disaster supply kit stocked and accessible, and make sure all family members know where it is stored. Take into account your family’s needs, baby items, pets, food, water and flashlights with batteries, to name a few. For a comprehensive guide, visit ready.gov/kit.
- Consider keeping a standby generator at your home, especially if you rely on essential medical equipment.
- Visit our website at weci.net/preparing-outage for a more comprehensive list to protect your property and help family members prepare for a storm
DURING A STORM:
- Continue checking the weather forecast and watch for signs of an approaching storm.
- Keep a weather radio in earshot, tuned to your regional weather service.
- Know the difference between a severe thunderstorm watch and warning. A watch means there is the possibility of storms in your area. A warning means a storm has been reported or is imminent and you should take cover.
- Stay indoors if you know a storm is headed your way.
IF LIGHTNING STRIKES:
- If you are outside, move to a low area away from water and trees and crouch as low as possible.
- Set down any metal items such as a baseball bat, golf club or fishing rod.
- If you are with a group and stuck outside, do not stand close together. During a lightning strike, there is NOT safety in numbers.
- Bring outdoor dogs inside. Metal chains and doghouses can attract lightning.
- Take shelter, when possible, in a building or enclosed vehicle with a hard-top roof — not an open-frame vehicle like a convertible or golf cart.
- Stay away from windows and doors while inside.
- A void water and electronics in your home during storms. Unplug electronics to protect them during a power surge and wait until the storm stops before taking a bath or shower.
IF POWER IS LOST AT YOUR HOME:
- Don’t panic! Check to see if your neighbors have power. If they do, the problem could be inside your home. Check your main fuses or circuit breakers to see if they have blown or tripped. Replacing a fuse or resetting a circuit breaker may restore your electricity.
- Keep freezers and refrigerators closed to preserve food.
- Turn off air conditioners during a power outage and do not turn them back on for several minutes after the power has been restored.
- Dress comfortably and use natural ventilation to keep your home cool. AFTER THE STORM:
- Before entering storm-damaged buildings, make sure electricity and gas are turned off.
- Do not turn off power if you must stand in water to do so. Call your electric utility and have them turn off power at the meter.
- Never enter a flooded basement unless electricity has been disconnected.
- Do not use water-damaged electronics before properly restoring them. Electric motors in appliances should be cleaned and reconditioned before use. It may be necessary to replace some of your appliances and electronics. Have your water-damaged items inspected and approved by a professional before use.
- If you clean up outdoors after a storm, do not use electronic equipment in wet conditions.
- NEVER GO NEAR DOWNED POWER LINES. They could still be energized and potentially dangerous. Downed lines, stray wires and debris in contact with the downed lines all have the potential to deliver a fatal shock.
- Move properly away from downed lines, and anything contacting them, by shuffling with small steps, keeping your feet together and always touching the ground. This will minimize the potential for a strong electric shock.
- DO NOT DRIVE OVER DOWNED POWER LINES! If you are in a vehicle that is in contact with a downed line, stay in the vehicle. Honk your horn to signal for help from a utility lineworker and tell others to stay away from your vehicle.
- If your vehicle is on fire and you must exit, jump out of the vehicle with both feet together, avoiding simultaneous contact with the vehicle and the ground. This way, you avoid becoming the path of electricity between the vehicle and the ground.
Severe damage to power lines and the electrical grid could cause power to be out for days or weeks. If you are ever without power for an extended period of time after a storm, please call your local Wheatland Electric office during regular business hours, or 1-800-ON-AGAIN (1-800-662-4246) during evenings, weekends, and holidays.