Severe Weather Awareness Week March 27-31
Columbus, Neb. – If there is one thing to remember this spring storm season it’s to leave downed power lines alone. That’s a simple safety message as Nebraska Public Power District observes the state’s Severe Weather Awareness Week March 27-31.
“Let downed power lines remain where they are,” explained NPPD Transmission and Distribution Manager Joe Dagerman. “Don’t assume a power line on the ground is not live. Every downed power line is potentially energized and dangerous until utility crews arrive on the scene to ensure power has been cut off.” Downed power lines, stray wires, and debris in contact with them all have the potential to deliver a fatal shock.
Dagerman explained NPPD and other public power utilities respond rapidly when power is disrupted, crews are trained to handle downed power lines as quickly and safely as possible to restore power. “We do our best to avoid interruptions to electric service for the retail and wholesale customers we serve,” Dagerman said. He noted typically NPPD can get power lines restored quickly but during a major storm, patience is important.
“High winds and tornadoes can cause significant damage to the electric transmission and distribution systems. Wires can become wrapped around trees, vehicles and structures so there can be an extra step in removing damaged lines,” he said. “While it adds a step to the restoration process, it needs to be done safely.”
Restoration time depends on the extent of a storm’s destruction, the number of customers impacted, and how safe it is for utility personnel to access damaged areas. Crews may have to clear downed power lines, repair transmission and distribution lines as necessary to ensure public health and safety facilities are operational.
And there is an occasion when a power line falls on a vehicle. “If you are in a vehicle and 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,” he added.
NPPD also offers a mobile app that can be used to report an outage in retail communities, view outage areas, and catch the latest news on storm restoration activities underway.
Visit www.nppd.com/outages/outage-safety-tips for a complete list of safety tips when the power goes out. And the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency also has a detailed family storm preparedness kit available at https://nema.nebraska.gov/sites/nema.nebraska.gov/files/doc/prep-kit-list.pdf.