VEC takes the safety of our members, employees, and the community-at-large seriously. Below is information to help keep you, your family, and friends safe!
Despite VEC’s ongoing efforts to minimize outages, storms that knock out power are a fact of life. Below are a few steps you can take before a storm hits to allow you and your family to weather possible outages more comfortably.
Build/restock an emergency kit. This kit should include at a minimum: battery powered flashlight(s) or headlamp(s); extra batteries; first aid kit; manual can opener; bottled water; non-perishable food. Additional items could include a radio (battery powered or hand crank); sets of warm clothing and sleeping bags and/or blankets; toiletries including towelettes/wipes, hand sanitizer, diapers and prescription medications.
Plan for medical needs/devices. If someone in your home is dependent on electric-powered medical equipment, make sure you have a battery backup or make alternative arrangements to ensure their needs are met.
Stock water. Before a storm arrives, fill a bathtub if you have one, so you have water to flush the toilet. (Avoid unsupervised bathroom access to children). Fill large containers for drinking water or buy bottled water.
Charge devices, and fuel vehicles. Be sure cell phones, computers and tablets are charged and vehicles are full of fuel.
Watch the forecast. Keep updated with storm alerts and news from the National Weather Service.
Stay informed. Get updates on outages and estimated times of restoration on VEC’s Outage Center as well as on VEC’s Facebook and Twitter feeds. Radio and television stations may offer general outage information as well.
Keep your distance from downed power lines outside. Always assume every line is energized and dangerous. If you’re in a vehicle and downed wires are on the car or across the road, stay in your car until emergency crews arrive. Don’t touch anything that might be in contact with a downed line.
Locate a shelter. If your home becomes unsafe or you need resources during a major storm or during longer term outages, dial 2-1-1 to find the closest shelter in your area.
Check on elderly neighbors and relatives.
Stay off roads. Eliminate unnecessary travel. Traffic lights may be out, and roads may be congested and they may have possibility of downed lines and trees on them.
Use generators and stoves safely. Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area.
Prepare for when power comes back on. To avoid damaging equipment when the power comes back on, turn off or disconnect any appliances, equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out, with the exception of one light. (This will help you know when the power comes back on.) When the power comes back on in your home, it doesn’t necessarily mean all repairs in your area have been made. Remain vigilant for and stay away from any downed lines or trees in your area.
Take care of your food. For detailed instructions on keeping food safe during outages visit Food Safety.Gov.
Members who use portable generators to supply power during outages must be sure the equipment installed properly and used safely. Otherwise, injury or death to you, a utility line worker or someone else could occur.
Improperly installed generators can cause deadly exhaust fumes, damage your generator and/or appliances, and “backfeed” electricity onto utility lines posing danger to line workers. The safest way to connect a portable generator to your existing wiring is to have a licensed electrician install a special transfer switch. The switch will ensure that electricity from the generator won’t backfeed onto utility electric lines causing serious injury or electrocution to a line worker.
VEC requests that members adhere to the following tips regarding safe generator use:
Federal and state laws require excavators to notify appropriate utility companies before digging. Digging without knowing where underground facilities are can be dangerous.
A single call to Dig Safe expedites the process of identifying underground utility lines before digging, which avoids costly damage to underground facilities and reduces the likelihood of injuries.
Dig Safe operates Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Off-hour coverage is available for emergency work only. In Vermont, utilities have 48 hours (excluding weekends and holidays) to respond.
VEC responds to Dig Safe calls only to locate primary underground up to the metering point. If the meter is on the pole then the underground from the pole to the member’s house or business is their responsibility. In such instances the member needs to contact a private locater to locate the underground.
Before you dig call Dig Safe at 1-888-DIG-SAFE (1-888-344-7233) or visit www.digsafe.com.
Encountering a downed power line while driving (dramatization)
Home safety tips
Chainsaw safety tips
Spring time advice: call DigSafe before digging
A look at GFCI outlets