WCEC Prepares for Possible Ice and Snow: Urges Members to Prepare
Forecasters are calling for freezing temperatures and the possibility of ice and snow for Wharton County Electric Cooperative’s service territory late this weekend and early next week. Ice accumulation on power lines can cause power outages, especially when combined with windy conditions. All WCEC crews will be on standby as this weather system moves through our area. They will be ready to be dispatched as soon as it is safe to begin any restoration efforts if needed.
During an outage, WCEC crews work to restore power to the largest number of people first. After power is restored to the cooperative’s main feeders, our crews then address issues in smaller neighborhoods or at individual homes.
WCEC is asking all members to prepare for the possibility of extended outages. Members should have an emergency kit assembled in the event they are without power for several days. Now is the time to prepare.
BEFORE A STORM:
- Take an inventory of the items you need that rely on electricity.
- Talk to your medical provider about a power outage plan for medical devices powered by electricity and refrigerated medicines. Find out how long medication can be stored at higher temperatures and get specific guidance for any medications that are critical for life.
- Plan for batteries and other alternatives to meet your needs when the power goes out.
- Sign up for local alerts and warning systems. Monitor weather reports.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors with battery backup in central locations on every level of your home.
- Determine whether your home phone will work in a power outage and how long battery backup will last.
- Review the supplies that are available in case of a power outage. Have flashlights with extra batteries for every household member. Have enough nonperishable food and water.
- Use a thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer so that you can know the temperature when the power is restored. Throw out food if the temperature is 40 degrees or higher.
- Keep mobile phones and other electric equipment charged and gas tanks full.
- Turn off propane and unplug small appliances.
- Styrofoam coolers to preserve food
- Ice to keep food cold
- Water—one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply)
- Food—non-perishable, easy-to-prepare (3-day supply)
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
- Multi-purpose tool
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Copies of personal documents
- Cell phone with charger
- Family and emergency contact information
- Extra cash
- Emergency blanket
- Map of area
- Baby supplies
- Pet supplies
- Tool/supplies for securing home
- Extra set of car and house keys
- Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
- Rain gear
- Insect repellent and sunscreen
- Camera for photos of any damage
DURING & AFTER THE STORM:
- Report outages by calling WCEC at 979-543-6271.
- If you plan to use a generator, know how to operate it safely.
- Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Generators, camp stoves, or charcoal grills should always be used outdoors and at least 20 feet away from windows. Never use a gas stovetop or oven to heat your home.
- Unplug all appliances and electronics so they won’t get damaged with power restoration.
- If power lines are on the ground, stay far away from them and warn others to stay away. Contact WCEC and let us know because the lines could still be live. Any power line that is dead could become energized at any moment due to power restoration or backup generators.
- Check on friends and relatives—especially children, seniors, and those with medical conditions or disabilities. These people may need to seek emergency cooling shelters.
- In extreme cold temperatures: Stay inside, and dress warmly. Staying warm is a priority. Dress in several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight warm clothing. Wear hats, mittens, and scarves. Close off unneeded rooms to keep the heat in your living areas. Place a draft block at the bottom of doors to minimize cold drafts from entering the house. When using an alternative heat source, follow operating instructions, use fire safeguards, and be sure to properly ventilate. Always keep a multipurpose, dry-chemical fire extinguisher nearby, and know how to use it. Keep a close eye on the temperature in your home. Infants and people over the age of 65 are often more susceptible to the cold. You may want to stay with friends or relatives or go to a shelter if you cannot keep your home warm.
- Keep a first-aid kit in your home and one in your car. Make sure that it includes scissors, tweezers, safety pins, aspirin, eyewash and rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.
- Keep refrigerator or freezer doors closed. A freezer that is half full or full can keep foods frozen 24 to 48 hours. Foods can stay safe in an unopened refrigerator for up to four hours. If an outage lasts longer than four hours, remove and pack meat, milk and other dairy products in a cooler with ice. When in doubt, throw it out! Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40 degrees or higher for two hours or more, or that has an unusual odor, color, or texture.
- Maintain food supplies that do not require refrigeration.
- Use safe alternative food preparations. A barbecue grill is an excellent way to prepare food. Always grill outside.
- If the power is out for more than a day, discard any medication that should be refrigerated unless the drug’s label says otherwise. If a life depends on the refrigerated drugs, consult a doctor or pharmacist, and use the medicine only until a new supply is available.
To report an outage, call 979-543-6271. During large outages, phone lines can get very busy. If necessary, we may implement an automated outage reporting system. To report an outage through this system, you will need the phone number connected to your account, your account number, or your meter number.
Rest assured that if outages occur, crews will be working to restore power as soon as it is safe to do so. If you are unable to get through to the co-op by calling 979-543-6271, updates from WCEC will also be available here: