Last week, we shared the first half of our interview with John Morrill, the Energy Manager here at Arlington County. He discussed the role an Energy Manager plays during an emergency when the power goes out. Today, we are going to share the second half of that interview, in which John and I discussed energy emergency preparedness tips.
- What is some advice you have for residents who’ve been without power for a few days? What should their next move be?
When your power is out, make sure you call and report it. Dominion Power’s number is 866-366-4357. Don’t assume that the company knows you are without power; your neighbors may not have called it in. Follow up if necessary. The company may think power has been restored to your neighborhood, but you could find that your house is still without.Remember that there is a hierarchy of needs that the power company must consider when restoring power. Critical life-safety functions, such as hospitals and fire stations, will always be first priority for restoration. Then, the priority goes to denser areas. For example, arepair that can restore power to 1,800 households will take place before a repair that impacts 18 households. If you live in a less dense neighborhood of Arlington, you may need to adjust your expectations accordingly.
- What are some tips that you could provide to residents to prepare for possible power outages?Proper preparation for bad weather is critical to minimize stress after the event. Major weather events such as snow and summer storms are annual occurrences. The warming climate makes severe weather events increasingly likely. Some useful websites that citizens can reference include the County’s Office of Emergency Management website, which offers suggestions on planning and a ‘kit’ for emergencies, and Dominion’s preparedness tips including videos.
[End of interview]
Thanks again to John for agreeing to this interview and providing us with so much useful information! Before we leave you for the week, I wanted to add a few more storm preparation tips of my own. Most importantly, as soon as you can, sign up for the Arlington Prepares App. During the storm, residents who had it were able to receive emergency alerts and easily find the Dominion Power phone number to get power updates.
In addition, I wanted to highlight a few simple things you can do when you know a big storm is coming to make your life a little bit easier if the power goes out:
- Go ahead and pack a cooler with full reusable water bottles, food that doesn’t need to be prepared (such as apple slices, cheese sticks, yogurt, etc), and ice. Also collect some non-perishables, such as granola bars, crackers and dried fruit.
- Light candles as it gets dark and find any flashlights you may have.
- Tune in a portable radio to a local news or weather station.
- Fully charge your cell phone, as well as any solar powered devices.
- Keep spare batteries on hand. Or, better yet, if you don’t already own a flashlight, invest in one with a hand crank. Then, you’ll never need to replace the batteries!
Hopefully there won’t be another major storm for a long time to come, but just in case there is, follow our advice to make sure that you are prepared! Do you have any other advice for weathering a bad storm? Tell us below!
By: Kelsey Kerle-O’Brien