Though there may not be a cloud in the clear blue sky today, it’s officially hurricane and tropical storm season. The season began in June but peaks from mid-August to October. Even here in Walton EMC’s landlocked service area, that matters.
Past seasons have taught us that heavy rain and high winds that accompany tropical storms can extend well beyond the coastal region. We’ve cleaned up some pretty big storm-related messes, and experienced the associated outages, in northern Georgia.
Fortunately, forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration don’t anticipate a repeat of the historic storm season recorded in 2020. There’s still a 60 percent chance of above-normal activity this year. By mid-June, the National Hurricane Center had already used Ana, Bill and Claudette, the first of this year’s alphabetized listing of storm names.
The best way to deal with the threat of a power outage is through preparedness. Now, before a severe storm is in the local forecast, take a few moments to watch this informational (and entertaining) video hosted by Walton EMC employees Greg Brooks and Savannah Chandler. It has the information you need to stay safe and comfortable if a prolonged outage occurs.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to check out these tips for reporting an outage to Walton EMC. Using waltonemc.com (Link) or our mobile app is the quickest way to let us know about your outage. You can also call us at 770-267-2505.
Our goal: quick and safe
Walton EMC is always taking steps to prevent power outages. We monitor our grid 24/365 and respond quickly when trouble is spotted in fair weather or foul. We also manage vegetation along our power lines to minimize potential damage from falling trees or limbs.
Our number one goal is to restore power as quickly and safely as possible when a storm impacts any part of the Walton EMC service territory. Preparation is the key to our storm plan.
Our dispatch center team closely monitors for threatening weather. If a damaging storm is headed our way, we make preparations to ensure co-op employees are mobilized and properly equipped to respond as soon as safely possible. Each Walton EMC employee plays an important role in the restoration plan and has been trained to be ready as needed. We also maintain a good relationship with area media and post frequently on Facebook and Twitter to communicate about power restoration efforts.
Storm safety Q & A
Severe storms can cause a variety of electrical safety hazards in and around our homes. Many of these hazards remain long after the storm itself has passed.
To help protect you, Walton EMC Safety Director Brad Adcock and the Electrical Safety Foundation International provide answers to common storm safety questions.
What should I do if I see a downed power line?
Move at least 10 feet away from the line and anything touching it. The human body is a ready conductor of electricity. The proper way to move away from the line is to shuffle away with small steps, keeping your feet together and on the ground at all times. This minimizes the potential for a strong electric shock.
How can I help someone who has come in contact with a downed power line?
If you see someone who is in direct or indirect contact with the downed line, do not touch the person. You could become the next victim. Call 911 instead.
Can I use something that is not metal to try to move a downed power line myself?
No! Don’t attempt to move a downed power line or anything in contact with the line by using another object such as a broom or stick. Even non-conductive materials like wood or cloth, if slightly wet, can conduct electricity and electrocute you.
What should I do if I see a downed power line on the road while I’m driving my car?
Stop! Don’t drive over downed power lines.
What if a power line comes down onto my car or I didn’t see it until I’ve driven into it?
If you are in your car and it is in contact with the downed line, stay in your car. Tell others to stay away from your vehicle.
If you must leave your car because it’s on fire, jump out of the vehicle with both feet together and avoid contact with the live car and the ground at the same time. This way you avoid being the path of electricity from the car to the earth. Shuffle away from the car.
Is a downed power line still dangerous if it has come down in water, like a pool or pond?
Water is a good conductor of electricity. Any amount of water, even a puddle, could become energized. Be careful not to touch water — or anything in contact with the water — near where there is a downed power line.
Is it safe to go into a flooded basement?
Use extreme care when stepping into flooded areas. Submerged outlets or electrical cords can energize water, posing a lethal trap.
My washer, dryer and a few other appliances got wet during the flood. Can I start using them again after they dry out?
Do not use electrical appliances that have been wet until they have been examined by a qualified service repair dealer. Electrical equipment exposed to water can be extremely dangerous if re-energized without proper reconditioning or replacement.
Does a flood affect my home’s electrical system?
Electrical items, such as circuit breakers, fuses, ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), receptacles, plugs and switches, can malfunction if water gets inside. Discard them if they have been submerged. Have a licensed, qualified professional replace them.
Can flooded outside areas be dangerous?
Yes. Downed power lines or submerged outlets from adjacent homes could energize the water. Use extreme caution when entering any flooded area.
I bought a new generator so that I’d be prepared for the next power outage. Is there anything special I should know about installing it?
We strongly recommend that you hire a licensed electrician to install any home generator to ensure it meets all local electrical codes. Also, make sure your generator is properly grounded in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Can’t I just plug my generator directly into one of my home’s outlets?
Do not connect generators directly to the household wiring unless an appropriate transfer switch has been installed by a licensed, qualified electrician.
What could happen if I don’t have a transfer switch installed?
Without the proper transfer switch, power provided by the generator can “backfeed” along the power lines, creating a significant electrocution hazard for anyone coming in contact with the lines, including Walton EMC lineworkers making necessary repairs.
Can I run my generator in the garage to protect it from the rain?
Never operate a generator inside your home or in any other enclosed — or even partially enclosed — area. Generators must be located outside a safe distance away from your home’s windows, doors and vents, through which deadly carbon monoxide can enter your home.