Storm Safety Information
Weather storms more easily by preparing ahead of time.
Once the power is out, you may not be able to view our safety tips, so download a copy for your reference, StormPrep Infographic (PDF), print it out, and have it handy when storms are on the horizon. In the meantime, review the safety tips below.
Downed Power Lines
UI urges customers to avoid downed power lines. Even lines that appear dead can be deadly. UI customers should call 800 7 CALL UI (800.722.5584) to report downed power lines or other hazardous situations. Refrain from removing tree debris as downed power lines may be entangled in them.
UI also reminds customers to stay out of flooded basements because energized wiring or outlets below the water line may pose a hazard. Natural gas service in a flooded basement may also pose a danger. If your basement or home is in danger of flooding, contact UI to turn off your electricity service.
Anyone who uses life-sustaining equipment that operates on electricity should contact UI at 800 7 CALL UI (800.722.5584). We may enroll you in one of our critical customer programs or provide you with specific advice on how to prepare for power interruptions.
Storm Safety Tips
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
- Get Prepared and Perform a Storm Inventory - The possibility of an outage exists whenever severe weather strikes. You can prepare by taking an inventory of your home and stocking up on any supplies you might need.
- Be sure to have flashlights, candles, matches, a disposable lighter, a first-aid kit, a battery-operated radio or TV, and a battery-operated clock. Maintain a supply of extra batteries of various sizes.
- Fill containers with drinking water (one gallon per person, per day) and keep a three-day supply of canned or dried food. Check expiration dates on canned foods and make sure you have a manual can opener.
- Charge your mobile phone so you can report outages or emergencies. Store key contacts in your phone’s memory, and keep a paper copy in case your batteries run out. UI’s toll-free line is 800 7 CALL UI (800.722.5584).
- 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 UI at 800 7 CALL UI (800.722.5584) 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.
- If you still have Internet access on a laptop or mobile phone, you can see outages throughout our service territory on our Outage Map and Town Outage List. You can also learn about our process for restoring power on the How we Restore page.
- If your power is interrupted:
- Contact UI at 800 7 CALL UI (800.722.5584) to report outages or service emergencies using our automated reporting system, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Please have your account number handy. Promptly reporting outages using this system will speed restoration efforts.
- Contact neighbors to see if their power is off. You may have simply blown a fuse or tripped a circuit breaker.
- Stay informed if your power goes out by signing up for our free Outage Alerts service. You’ll automatically receive notifications with the latest information about your power outage.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Some foods may last up to 24 hours if the doors are kept shut. (More on food safety.)
- Keep sensitive electronic appliances such as computers, TVs, stereos and VCRs plugged into a surge protector, or unplug them. They could be damaged if a power surge occurs when electricity is restored.
- Emergency generators can be dangerous. If you use one, carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Operate your generator outdoors in a clean, dry, well-ventilated area and never indoors or in a garage.
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 10 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 7 CALL UI (800.722.5584). Remember to report specific details as they are known.
- Avoid using candles indoors – they may present a fire hazard.
- If your basement or home was flooded, have an electrician check your home before contacting UI to have services turned on.
- Turn on appliances and sensitive electronic equipment one at a time to avoid overloading your circuits.
- Replenish emergency supplies used during the storm.
- 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.
How We Restore Service
Our first priority is responding to known incidents of downed power lines to make the situations safe.
Once this vital public safety work is complete, we will:
- Assess the damage to the electricity delivery system.
- Develop a detailed restoration plan.
- Make repairs as quickly as possible.
Service restoration depends on the magnitude and duration of the storm or other event causing the service interruptions. Read more....
Additional Safety Resources:
- Hurricane Safety Checklists (National Hurricane Survival Initiative)
- Refrigerated Food and Power Outages: When To Save and When To Throw Out (FoodSafety.gov)
- Home Generator Safety (Energy Education Council)
- Lightning Safety (NOAA)