Black Hills Energy provides tips for staying safe during power outages
RAPID CITY S.D. — As we are passing through our first severe snow storm of the season, Black Hills energy reminds us to stay safe during hazardous weather conditions and offers tips to prepare us for weather-related service interruptions.
Black Hills Energy prepares for severe weather by constant monitoring of weather forecasts. Much of their ability to respond quickly to service interruptions is the result of careful planning, and completing the following steps before the storm actually hits the area:
- Routinely inspecting and updating our electrical system to ensure it is in good shape.
- Developing staffing plans to provide 24-hour outage response and Black Hills Energy reliability center that dispatches Black Hills Energy crews.
- Coordinating efforts with city, county, state emergency officials and first responders.
- Providing ongoing service restoration updates to customers through various communication mediums such as local media, email and text messaging directly to customers, Black Hills Energy website and Facebook page.
“During extended service interruptions caused by severe weather, we work with local news agencies and our customer communication mediums to keep you informed about service restoration. If an electrical service interruption occurs, we will make every effort to restore your power as quickly as possible. We realize that these situations are an inconvenience, and we appreciate your patience as we work to restore service,” said Marc Eyre, director of electric operations.
Black Hills energy provided us with the following guidelines for staying safe in the event that an unexpected power outage occurs:
- Prepare for an outage by setting up an emergency drawer or kit that’s easy to access, even in the dark. Stock it with fresh batteries, a battery-powered radio and a flashlight. Avoid using candles, lanterns or oil lamps because of the fire risk. Be sure everyone in the family knows where the emergency drawer or kit is located.
- If any member of your family is on life support, plan for arrangements today to get them to a location where their needs can be met if electric service is interrupted. In addition, please contact us at 888-890-5554 to make sure we’ve noted that a life-support system exists at your home.
- Unplug sensitive computer and electronic equipment or protect them with a high-quality surge protector.
- If your power goes out, see if your neighbors have power. If they do, check your home for blown fuses or a tripped circuit breaker.
- If your neighbors don’t have power or if you can’t locate the problem, contact us immediately by calling our emergency number at 800-694-8989.
- Customers may experience an outage due to a damaged service/meter mast that is connected to the home and is owned by the customer. Black Hills Energy will coordinate with the customer as the customer may need to hire a licensed electrician to repair their overhead service/meter mast prior to power being restored.
- Never touch or attempt to pick up a fallen power line, and keep children and pets away. Assume any downed power line is energized.
- Do not attempt to rescue someone in contact with a power line. If you see a downed power line, call our emergency number 800-694-8989 or 911 immediately.
- Leave a lamp or electric radio, mobile computer or phone on so you know when service is restored
- Also turn on a porch light. This will help speed our power restoration process, as we will be able to quickly confirm that your power is back on without knocking on your door or checking the meter.
- Do not open your refrigerator or freezer more than necessary. Undisturbed food will remain frozen in most freezers for 12 to 48 hours.
- Do not use charcoal grills to heat your home or cook indoors. Dangerous carbon monoxide fumes can build up and cause injury or death.
- If you use a portable generator, follow the manufacturer’s safety and operating guidelines. Be sure to operate the generator in a well-ventilated area. Never operate it indoors or in your garage. Again, dangerous carbon monoxide fumes can build up and cause injury or death.
During an outage, stay connected with Black Hills Energy on outage information by logging on to blackhillsenergy.com