WINTER STORM PAX UPDATE FROM STATE OPERATIONS CENTER

February 12, 2014

WINTER WEATHER UPDATE

Winter Weather State Operations Center

Contact: State Joint Information Center (404) 635-2153 to 2155

Power Restoration a Difficult Process

(ATLANTA) -- Accumulation of ice on power lines as a result of the current winter storm is expected to cause widespread power outages across the state.  But the process of restoring power is a methodical one and, in many cases, can take time.

            The Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) joins the state's electricity providers in urging residents who lose their power to be patient as line crews work to restore their power.

As you wait for power to be restored, follow these tips to help you cope with a blackout:

  • Do not call 9-1-1 for information—call only to report a life-threatening emergency. Use the phone for life-threatening emergencies only.
  • Use only flashlights for emergency lighting. NEVER use candles during a blackout or power outage due to extreme risk of fire.
  • Never use your oven as a source of heat. If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another location (the home of a relative or friend, or a public facility) that has heat to keep warm.
  • If using your fireplace, make sure the flue is open.
  • Space heaters are acceptable if they are in working condition and for indoor use.
  • Do not run a generator inside a home or garage. Keep them at least 20 feet away from your home to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Do not connect a generator to a home's electrical system.  If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to run directly to the outlets on the generator.
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment (like air conditioners) or electronics in use when the power went out. Power may return with momentary "surges” or “spikes” that can damage computers as well as motors in appliances like the air conditioner, refrigerator, washer or furnace.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed to keep your food as fresh as possible. If you must eat food that was refrigerated or frozen, check it carefully for signs of spoilage.
  • Leave on one light so that you'll know when your power returns.
  • Use a standard telephone handset, cellular phone, radio or pager if your phone requires electricity to work, as do cordless phones and answering machines. Use the phone for emergencies only. Listen to a portable radio for the latest information.
  • Provide plenty of fresh, cool water for your pets.

            According to power providers, the process for restoring electric service begins at the plant, where transmission lines that carry high-voltage electricity to communities start the distribution process.  Those lines are the first to be repaired, if necessary.

            The next priority is the major distribution lines that provide electricity to critical services and functions, such as hospitals public safety and public works facilities and schools.     Next are the distribution lines for areas with the largest number of customers, and finally distribution lines to homes in smaller communities.

            It is possible that a neighbor's lights might be restored before yours, but that could be because  not all circuits are restored at the same time or one neighborhood could be served by several different circuits.

            To report a power outage, please call Georgia Power at 1-888-891-0938 and Georgia EMC at 770-775-7857, or the phone number listed on your billing statement.

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Monitor real-time road conditions at Georgia 511 www.511ga.org.

For updated information on the winter storm and recommended action, log on to www.gema.ga.gov, and click on the Latest Emergency Information link.