An energy education: How to safely prepare for stormy weather

Even though weather and its impacts are unpredictable, you and your family can use these tips to ensure your home is safely prepared for the unknown.  

Before a storm:

  • Review the supplies that are available in case of a power outage.
  • Replace any broken, cracked or frayed electrical cords. Ensure damaged cords are thrown away. Extension cords should be rated for their intended use; never use an indoor extension cord outdoors. Remember, all electrical cords should be stored indoors when not in use.
  • Confirm electrical equipment is properly grounded.
  • Check your electrical outlets to ensure they don’t have exposed wiring, aren’t cracked or loose. Did you know that unusually warm switches or outlets may indicate unsafe wiring? Stop using the switches and call a licensed electrician.
  • Locate any necessary batteries or alternatives to meet your electrical needs if the power goes out. Grabbing extra batteries to go with flashlights for every household member is also a great idea.

During and immediately after a storm:

  • Never plug a generator directly into a household outlet. 
  • Only operate a generator outside and connect appliances directly to it.
  • Do not wire your generator directly to your breaker fuse box, as it could back feed on power lines.
  • Keep electrical devices away from water.
  • Don’t assume a circuit is safe because it is powered off; instead, use an approved meter to check for voltage before touching any wiring or other electrical components.
  • If you see a downed power line, always stay back at least 20 feet and call 911.
  • Disconnect or turn off any nonessential electrical equipment that may start automatically when power is restored to avoid overloading circuits.
  • When using extension cords, ensure they are visible and not running across highly trafficked walking areas. If using an extension cord, prevent electric shock by ensuring it isn’t in water or snow. Extension cords are only intended for temporary wiring solutions.

After a storm:

  • As the weather returns to normal, ensure generators and extension cords are safely stored because they are not intended for use on a long-term, permanent basis.
  • Look for damage that may prevent your power from being restored.
  • Whenever considering repairing or updating your home’s electrical system, ensure to hire an experienced, qualified and licensed electrician.
  • Call 8-1-1 before digging underground to safely locate underground utilities.

Visit the Duke Energy Storm Center for more tools and resources to help you get started preparing for severe weather,

including suggestions for your emergency supply kit and how to sign up for email, phone and text alerts for updates and notifications.


Comments (1)

Posted May 17, 2021 by Eli Richardson
It's great that you talked about the importance of checking your home's underground utilities if digging on it. Recently, my wife and I decided we want to improve our home's electrical system, and since the storm season is coming up, we'd like to do it before that. We have some issues with our electrical power, so before we do anything, we'll be sure to follow your advice. Thanks for the information on safety tips to deal with electrical issues.

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