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Make an emergency plan for your family for National Preparedness Month

Tips to help you and your family prepare, stay safe during power outage

As we near the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Matthew and as Hurricane Harvey has unleashed its fury on Texas,  and as Hurricane Irma’s U.S. landfall remains uncertain, it is a good reminder to ensure you and your family have a plan ready to activate in the event of an emergency. 

September is National Preparedness Month to encourage Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools and communities. 

The following tips can help you and your family prepare and stay safe if severe weather strikes and the power goes out.

Keep these items handy

Check your supplies and be sure to have the following items in an easy-to-find location:

• Flashlights with extra batteries

• Portable radio with fresh batteries

• First-aid kit

• Canned or packaged food that can be prepared without cooking or refrigeration

• Several days’ supply of drinking water.

• Portable (and fully charged) cell phone charger

• Prescription medication

If someone in your home has special needs or relies on electric-powered medical equipment, determine now the actions you’d take in the event of an extended power outage (i.e., relocate your family member or have a backup generator available). And encourage other family members, friends and neighbors to do the same.

Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged and phone numbers handy in case you need to check on family or friends in other locations or call emergency response agencies.

Stay safe

If severe weather moves through the area, be watchful for downed or sagging power lines. Consider all lines energized as well as trees, limbs or anything in contact with lines. Please report downed power lines to Duke Energy.

If a power line falls across a car that you’re in, stay in the car. If you MUST get out of the car due to a fire or other immediate life-threatening situation, do your best to jump clear of the car and land on both feet. Be sure that no part of your body is touching the car when your feet touch the ground.

Report an outage

There are three ways for customers to report outages and get the most up-to-date restoration information:

Online – Customers can report an outage online at www.duke-energy.com/outages. They can also access the outage map online from a computer or mobile device. Once on the map, customers can zoom in to their specific location and hover over the outage indicator nearest their home. A message box will appear showing total customers affected, status and an estimated time of restoration, if available: http://outagemap.duke-energy.com

Text message – Customers can text OUT to 57801 to report an outage from their mobile phone. Be sure to use the mobile phone associated with your account. To stay informed of future power outages, sign up to receive power outage alerts from Duke Energy by texting REG to 57801 or choose from text, email or phone alerts by enrolling at duke-energy.com/OutageAlerts.  

Phone – Customers can report outages and get up-to-date restoration times by calling the company’s automated outage-reporting system for their specific service area:

• Duke Energy Carolinas – 800-769-3766

• Duke Energy Progress – 800-419-6356

Stay connected

Visit Duke Energy’s storm preparedness website – www.duke-energy.com/storms – for links to outage reporting tools, safety information and tips. There is also an interactive outage map where customers can find up-to-date information on power outages, including the total number of outages systemwide and estimated times of restoration.

Follow these social media accounts to get up-to-date information about outages and restoration efforts:

• Facebook – www.facebook.com/duke.energy/

• Twitter – twitter.com/dukeenergy

Restoring power

If you experience a power outage after severe weather, it’s likely many other customers are out too. When there are widespread power outages, Duke Energy follows a restoration process that focuses on repairs that will return power to the greatest number of customers as safely, quickly and efficiently as possible. Emphasis is placed on vital public health and safety facilities such as hospitals, law enforcement, fire departments and water treatment facilities. This infographic explains the process: www.duke-energy.com/pdfs/How-Duke-Energy-Restores-Power.pdf

– submitted by Meghan Miles/DukeEnergy