How to prepare for a power outage

How to prepare for a
Southern Maryland
Electric Cooperative is
invested in providing reliable
service to the community in Southern
Maryland. This investment includes
improving, maintaining, and upgrading
the electric system, proactive right-of-way
clearing, and increasing protective equipment.
By employing up-to-date technology and
installing necessary infrastructure, SMECO is
working to increase reliability of its delivery
service network, improve energy efficiency efforts,
and enhance customer service.
For information on how to prepare for and what to
do during a power outage, please read this brochure.
prepare for an outage
Although SMECO works as quickly as
possible to get the lights back on, you
can take steps before and during an
outage to be prepared.
• If someone in your household
depends on electricity to operate
a life support system, plan
ahead for alternate sources
of power or lodging.
• Have an alternate source of light:
keep flashlights and extra batteries
where they can be found easily.
Lanterns and candles are not
recommended because they can
cause fires.
• Keep a battery-powered radio
with fresh batteries, and stay
tuned to local news bulletins
and weather reports.
• Stock emergency food and
related items. Ideal choices are
nonperishable foods that do not
need cooking, such as canned
fruit, canned milk, peanut butter,
crackers, cereals and cereal bars,
canned soup, and canned tuna.
Stocking up on refrigerated or
frozen foods may not be a good
idea if the power goes out.
• Keep a manual can opener
handy, along with disposable
plates and utensils.
• Keep your grill available
year-round for cooking during
an outage. (Always use a gas
or charcoal grill outside.)
• Store extra water in clean jugs,
bathtubs, laundry tubs, or other
containers if you know a storm is
on the way.
• During an outage, you may flush
a toilet, then pour water into the
toilet tank (not the bowl) before
flushing again. Turn off the water
supply to the toilet before flushing.
Toilet tanks hold several gallons
of water, so plan accordingly.
SMECO’s outage restoration policy is to make
repairs that will restore service to the most people
in the least amount of time. The power must
be restored in this sequence because individual
services cannot receive electricity until all
previous steps are completed. SMECO restores
power to transmission lines first, substations
second, main distribution lines third, tap lines
fourth, and any individual services last.
Remember, melted snow or ice can be a source of
water during winter outages (but not for drinking).
During the summer, you may be able to use water
from a pool or hot tub.
• Plan an alternate source of heat in the event
of a cold-weather crisis. If you have a fireplace
or wood stove, keep adequate kindling and
firewood on hand. Have extra clothing,
blankets, or sleeping bags available.
• Consult a plumber or other home specialist for
other steps to take in the event of a prolonged
outage. These may include draining water from
pipes or other recommendations particular
to your home, situation, or appliances.
• Keep fresh batteries in your smoke detectors.
• It is helpful to have a corded phone available:
cordless phones will not work without electricity.
If you have a cell phone, you may need an auto
adapter to recharge it.
• If you have livestock, you will need a means of
obtaining adequate supplies of fresh water. A
generator is recommended.
• Keep your automobile’s gas tank full.
• Maintain a supply of cash. Credit cards and ATM
machines may not work if the power is out.
For your safety:
Place your portable generator outside,
never in the house, garage, attic, crawl
space, or basement. Make sure your
generator is connected safely; an improperly
connected generator can cause serious injury
or death. When your power comes back on,
turn off and disconnect your generator.
during an outage
• Leave the freezer and refrigerator
closed so food will stay cold longer.
• Make sure the oven and stove
are off; this will prevent fires if the
power comes back on while you’re
away. Do not set dishes, towels,
or paper on the stove; these may
catch on fire if a burner is on when
the power comes on.
• Turn off all the major appliances
in your home, especially the heat
pump. This will prevent damage to
the appliances once the power is
restored. Turn on appliances one at
a time so the electric demand does
not jump suddenly.
Never touch downed power lines
or attempt to remove trees from
power lines. Contact with power
lines may result in serious injury or
death. Let qualified SMECO crews
handle the clearing and repair
work. Please report downed power
lines to SMECO immediately.
Report an outage
•Call: 1-877-74-SMECO
•Mobile app: Report
your outage or view
outages from the app.
Download the app for free from
Apple iTunes or Google Play. Type
SMECO 24/7 in the search field.
•Text: Report outages, receive power
restoration updates, and request
outage status updates through your
phone. To sign up, simply text REG
(for register) to 76326 (SMECO).
Standard data rates may apply.
Record your account number here:
and keep this brochure near your
phone in the event of an outage.
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