If you are outside, head inside immediately to avoid being caught in a storm. No place outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area. Stay away from windows, go to the lowest level in your house, avoid corded electrical equipment, and have your emergency kit within easy reach.
Tornadoes, high winds, heavy rains, and lightning can leave destruction in their wake. Once a severe storm has passed, it does not mean the dangers have. Hazards can be left behind in the aftermath of a severe spring/summer storm.
Just because power lines are damaged does not mean they are dead. Stay away from downed power lines, stray wires, and debris in contact with them. Instruct others to do the same. Call 911 to notify your local utility.
In the immediate aftermath of a storm:
- Listen to your weather radio or a local radio station for updated information and instructions.
- Never enter a flooded basement if electrical outlets, appliances, or cords are under water. The water could be energized.
- Do not turn power off if you must stand in water to do so. Call your utility and have them turn off power at the meter.
- Before entering storm-damaged buildings, make sure electricity and gas are turned off.
- If you smell gas or suspect a leak, leave the house immediately and call 911 and your local utility. Do not light an open flame or flip any switches in the house.
- If at all possible, remain at home and off the roadways to allow emergency responders and utility crews easy access to damaged areas or injured individuals.
- Never drive through a flooded roadway. There is no way to predict how deep the water may be.
- If you are driving and come across a downed power line, stay away and warn others to stay away. Contact emergency personal or your utility company to address the downed power line. If you do come in contact with a downed power line, do not leave the car. Wait for utility and emergency professionals to make sure the power line is de-energized before exiting the car.
When cleaning up outdoors after a storm, do not use electrical equipment when it is raining, or the ground is wet. Also, do not use electrical equipment that has been water damaged. Have your water damaged items inspected and approved by a professional before using them.
Western Iowa Power Cooperative keeps an eye on the weather, especially weather which is forecasted to impact our area. Severe weather brings with it a chance of power outages. WIPCO members please call 800-253-5189, 24/7, to report all power outages. Please note that WIPCO crews will be ready to make repairs during and after storms as soon as outdoor conditions are safe.
WIPCO encourages all members to have a storm emergency kit on hand. We recommend including the following items:
- water (one gallon per person per day, for several days
- food (three-day supply of non-perishables)
- First Aid Kit/prescriptions
- extra batteries/wireless phone chargers
- manual can opener
- moist towelettes
- extra pet food
Should severe storm related power outages occur, check for updates and restoration efforts by following us on Facebook. For more safety information, visit SafeElectricity.org.