Skip to main navigation.

Outage & Storm Preparedness

Our trucks are stocked. Our crews are ready. Our dispatch team monitors our system 24/7.

In the event of a power outage, we will start working immediately to get your lights back on.

Report an Outage: 1-866-878-5514

SEC Outage Center 

Watch a short video on winter storm preparedness here


 

Preparing for Power Outages and Natural Disasters 

☐ Self-powered Flashlights

☐ Candles

☐ Glowsticks

☐ Matches

☐ Lighter 

☐ First aid kit: bandages, gauze, tape, scissors, hydrogen peroxide, antiseptic ointment, pain relievers and prescription medications

☐ Batteries

☐ Self-powered radio

☐ Extra mobile phone car chargers 

☐ Water (a gallon per person per day)

☐ Coolers

☐ Ice

☐ Extra water bottles that can be used as ice packs

☐ Nonperishable food items

☐ Can opener 

☐ Trash bags, paper plates, flatware

☐ Water purifier bottles

☐ Warm clothes 

☐ Personal hygiene items: soap, toilet paper, plastic garbage bags, etc. 

☐ Copies of personal documents

☐ Emergency contact info

☐ Pocket money

☐ Fire extinguisher 

☐ Supplies for pets

☐ Camping Stove 

☐ Propane tank or charcoal
 

 

 


Preparing for an Outage 

A number of circumstances can cause power interruptions, and damage from severe weather can cause outages that last for days. Making plans now can make riding out a prolonged power outage safer and more comfortable. 

If someonoe in your household has special medical needs, please have your physician sign this form and return it to SEC. 

Before an Outage

- Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
- Charge cell phones and any battery powered devices. Make sure you have alternative charging methods for your phone or any device that requires power. If you use your car to re-charge devices, do NOT keep the car running in a garage, partially enclosed space, or close to a home, this can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it.
- Keep your car’s gas tank full-gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.

During an Outage

Only use flashlights for emergency lighting, candles can cause fires.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Most food requiring refrigeration can be kept safely in a closed refrigerator for several hours. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours.
- Take steps to remain cool if it is hot outside. In intense heat when the power may be off for a long time, consider going to a movie theater, shopping mall or “cooling shelter” that may be open in your community. If you remain at home, move to the lowest level of your home, since cool air falls. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty.
- Put on layers of warm clothing if it is cold outside. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. 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.
- Turn off or disconnect appliances and other equipment in case of a momentary power “surge” that can damage computers and other devices. Consider adding surge protectors.
- If you are considering purchasing a generator for your home, consult an electrician or engineer before purchasing and installing. Only use generators away from your home and NEVER run a generator inside a home or garage, or connect it to your home's electrical system.

After an Outage

- Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40° F (4° C) for 2 hours or more or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. When in doubt, throw it out!
- If food in the freezer is colder than 40° F and has ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it. If you are not sure food is cold enough, take its temperature with a food thermometer.
- Contact your doctor if you’re concerned about medications having spoiled.
- Restock your emergency kit with fresh batteries, canned foods and other supplies.

 


Downed Power Lines:
 

Never go near downed power lines. 

- A downed power line can still be energized and can cause other things around it to become potentially hazardous. A fence or guardrail touching a downed line can be energized for several thousand yards and it poses a threat to anyone coming into contact with it.
Stay away from puddles of water that could be in contact with downed lines. Encountering these can be as hazardous as coming into contact with the downed power line itself.
- If you are driving and come upon a downed power line, stay in your vehicle, warn others to stay away and call 911.
- Also when driving, be careful at intersections where traffic lights may be out. Stop at all railroad crossings and treat road intersections with traffic signals as four-way stops before proceeding with caution.

 


Winter Storms and Extreme Cold:
 

  • Before winter approaches, add the following supplies to your emergency kit:
    • Rock salt to melt ice on walkways. 
    • Sand to improve traction.
    • Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment.
    • Sufficient heating fuel. You may become isolated in your home and regular fuel sources may be cut off. Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
    • Adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm.
  • Make a Family Communications Plan. Your family may not be together when a storm hits, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.
  • Bring pets/companion animals inside during cold winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
  • Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic
    • Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.
    • Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing. Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.
    • Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.
  • Stay indoors.
    • Walk carefully on snowy, icy, walkways. 
    • Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive: travel in the day; don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule; stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts. Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle.
    • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow.
  • Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes.
    • Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects
    • Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms.
    • Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. 
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF.

 


Generator Safety 

 



Additional Resources:

Virginia Department of Emergency Management 
Ready.gov
American Red Cross
National Weather Service