Preparing for a power outage

A tree falls on power lines on Michaelwood Drive in Virginia Beach, Va. during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. (ReportIt/Jesse Keene)
A tree falls on power lines on Michaelwood Drive in Virginia Beach, Va. during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. (ReportIt/Jesse Keene)

Power outages are common when tropical systems hit. There are several steps you can take in advance to be ready for a major storm.

If You Lose Power

  • Use a flashlight for emergency lighting, not candles.
  • Turn off electrical equipment you were using when the power went out.
  • Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer.
  • If you use a computer, keep files and operating systems backed up regularly, either on recordable DVDs, CDs or an external hard drive. If you must evacuate, take the backup files with you. Consider buying extra batteries and a power converter if you use a laptop computer.
  • Get a high quality surge protector for all of your computer and home theater equipment.
  • If you have an electric garage door opener, find out where the manual release lever is located.
  • Have a standard corded telephone or cell phone that doesn’t require electricity.

Water Safety

  • To treat water, first filter the water using a piece of cloth or coffee filter to remove solid particles.
  • Bring it to a rolling boil for one full minute and cool 30 minutes or; add 12 drops of 2% tincture of iodine per gallon or; add 16 drops of unscented liquid chlorine bleach per one gallon of water. Let stand 30 minutes.
  • Use water purification tablets.

Generator Safety

  • Buy a generator that is listed with the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM).
  • If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
  • Do not connect a generator to a home’s electrical system.
  • Follow generator directions. Do not use indoors, including inside a garage, due to dangerous carbon monoxide buildup. Have adequate ventilation and follow proper refueling practices.
  • Be sure to let the generator cool down before refueling.

Keep the Dominion Customer Service Center number, 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357), with your other emergency numbers. You might also add our number to your cell phone so you can reach us easily in the event of an outage. You can also report outages online.

Related Links:
View outages by region
Power outage map

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