Storm Safety

High winds, lightning, snow, ice and rain can damage electrical equipment and present dangers inside and outside the home. UI offers some helpful ways to protect your families and stay safe.

Before a storm:

  • If you have a home generator, be sure it is installed by a licensed electrician. The generator must be connected to your home’s wiring through a special transfer switch to ensure that the house wires are isolated from the utility wires so that UI lines cannot be energized by your generator. Do not run a generator indoors and keep it away from open doors and windows.
  • If you or someone in your home uses electronic life-support or medical-monitoring equipment, you should have a back-up plan in case an extended power outage occurs. UI has a program to register “life support” customers. Call 800-722-5584 (800-7-CALL-UI) to find out more.

During a storm:

  • Stay indoors and avoid driving.
  • If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you. Take shelter immediately.
  • During a lightning storm, remain indoors if possible. Keep windows and doors shut, and stay away from them.
  • During a lightning storm, do not use corded phones, computers or other equipment that puts you in direct contact with electricity. Avoid plumbing, including sinks, baths and faucets.

After a storm:

  • Assume downed wires or damaged electrical equipment are live and dangerous — as well as anything they may be touching. Stay at least 20 feet away, and keep children and pets indoors.
  • Storm debris can hide fallen power lines. Live electrical lines may also be touching trees, fences, and other objects. The ground immediately around a downed electric line may be energized. Keep your distance.
  • Call 911 to report any conditions that may present a public danger; then report it to us on our toll-free line, 800-722-5584 (800-7-CALL-UI). Remember to report specific details as they are known.
  • Avoid using candles indoors – they may present a fire hazard.

Storm Cleanup:

  • Take note of overhead lines before cleaning gutters, removing snow from the roof or performing other outdoor work at home. Assume that all overhead lines are energized, even if you’ve lost power, unless your utility or a licensed electrician informs you otherwise.
  • When carrying ladders and long-handled tools, check your path to make sure you won’t cross overhead lines.
  • Always keep yourself and your equipment at least 10 feet away from overhead lines, including lines from the pole to your home.
  • Use only non-conductive ladders when working near overhead power lines.

More Information

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