With September marking National Preparedness Month, we encourage you to develop a home emergency plan so you’re prepared for unexpected disasters, especially ones that could lead to prolonged power outages.
“We’re focused on keeping our employees and customers safe at all times,” said Mike Formaini, director of safety and workforce development, Duquesne Light Company (DLC). “Part of this commitment is planning for many scenarios so we’re prepared for whatever comes our way, and we encourage our customers and communities to join us in that crucial preparation.”
Recognized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Preparedness Month is a nationwide campaign to create awareness about disaster and emergency readiness. This year, FEMA is reminding the public that disasters don’t wait, so it’s critical to make your plan today.
Here are key steps you should take when creating your home emergency plan:
Step 1: Start by discussing these questions with your family, friends or household:
- How will you receive emergency alerts and warnings?
- What is your shelter plan?
- What is your evacuation route?
- What is your family/household communication plan?
- Do you need to update your emergency preparedness kit?
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, check with the Centers for Disease Control and make any necessary adjustments to your plan.
Step 2: Consider your household’s specific needs.
As you prepare, tailor your plan and supplies to your specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Discuss how people in your network can assist each other with communication, child care, business, pets, or specific needs like operating medical equipment. Keep these factors in mind when developing your plan:
- Different ages of members within your household
- School-age children
- Pets or service animals
- Responsibilities for assisting others
- Locations frequented
- Dietary needs
- Medical needs such as prescriptions and equipment
- Disabilities or access and functional needs, including devices and equipment
- Languages spoken
- Cultural and religious considerations
Step 3: Finalize your plan.
Download and complete this emergency communication plan from FEMA, or use it as a guide to create your own.
Step 4: Practice your plan with all members of your household.
Preparing for Outages
Disasters like major storms, floods and fires often lead to significant power outages that could take several days or even weeks to restore. To be prepared, incorporate these tips into your emergency plan:
Before an Outage
- Place flashlights, a battery-powered radio and fresh batteries in an easily accessible location.
- Keep a three-day supply of non-perishable food, bottled water (one gallon per day per person) and medication on hand for each person in the household.
- Ensure that cell phones and other necessary electronics are fully charged.
- Always have a first-aid kit with current supplies in a convenient location.
- Use surge protectors to protect sensitive electronic equipment.
- In the winter, always have an alternate source of heating and fuel available.
During an Outage
- Do not touch downed or hanging power lines or anything in contact with them.
- Avoid opening the refrigerator or freezer. Food can stay frozen in a fully loaded freezer for 36 to 48 hours if the door remains closed.
- Disconnect or turn off appliances that were on when the outage occurred.
- Leave a light on so you will know when power is restored.
Ready for the Unexpected
As we encourage you to be prepared, DLC also has a plan to efficiently respond to severe weather and other unexpected scenarios. Our comprehensive storm strategy allows us to quickly mobilize personnel and equipment in response to storm damage and outages. Through our always-staffed storm headquarters, we’re able to coordinate equipment repairs and power restorations around the clock beginning with public safety hazards and critical customers such as hospitals and other emergency facilities.
To learn more about our storm plan and additional preparedness tips, visit our website.