Preparing for a Storm

Print the following tips and place in a location that is easy to access:

To Prepare:

  • Know the location of your emergency supply kit (check the American Red Cross website at for a complete listing of what you should include), the amount of food supply on hand, and the location of insurance policies.
  • Check to see if shrubs or trees need trimming or if you have any weak limbs. Be particularly careful when working near power lines. Also, remove items near the home that could possibly become airborne (toys, trash cans, etc.).
  • Listen to local radio or TV stations for up-to-date storm information.
  • Fill your gas tank before a storm arrives, as gas pumps do not work if electricity is out. Automatic teller machines will also be shut off if the power goes, so get some cash to have on hand.
  • Stock dry and canned goods in one part of a pantry or cabinets.
  • Don’t forget to set aside a can opener and disposable plates and utensils.
  • Stock emergency water and drinks. Keep containers handy so that you can fill them with tap water if severe weather approaches.

After the Storm:

  • If it is dark, use flashlights, not candles. Leave on a single light to alert you when electric service is restored. Also, leaving your porch light on will help restoration crews verify that your power has been restored.
  • Turn off or disconnect any appliance that would go on automatically when power is restored (stoves, washers, dryers and air conditioners).
  • If you haven’t already, disconnect sensitive electronic equipment.
  • Minimize opening freezers and refrigerators. A fully loaded freezer can keep food frozen for up to 48 hours if the door has not been opened.
  • Even if your neighbor’s power is restored and yours is still out, remember that it could be caused by a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker in your house.
  • Stay clear of fallen utility lines and avoid tree limbs and debris that could hide fallen lines. The limbs could actually carry electricity, especially if they are wet.
  • Do not pile debris near utility poles or other electric devices when cleaning up outside.
  • Be sure and report all downed lines immediately to 911 and Black River Electric Cooperative at 469-8060.

Generator Safety

While excellent sources of temporary power, portable generators can be dangerous if safety guidelines are not followed. Possible dangers include carbon monoxide poisoning from the engine exhaust and electrocution from connections to your home’s electrical system.

BREC recommends the following when using a generator:

  • Never wire your generator directly into your home’s electrical system or plug it directly into a wall outlet unless you have a double-throw switch installed at the circuit box by a licensed electrician. Without a double-throw switch, your generator can send electricity back onto BREC’s system. This could be fatal to BREC personnel working to restore your power – or anyone else who comes in contact with power lines.
  • Never use portable generators indoors or in an enclosed space.
  • Protect your generator from rain or snow (porches and carports work well).
  • Read and follow the manufacturer’s safety guidelines.
  • Plug all appliances into the generator with appropriate-sized cords rated for the appliance load.
  • Regular testing and periodic maintenance are also important steps you need to take to ensure your generator performs when you need it.