Storm season 2023 has certainly been memorable, but none of us can say it has been enjoyable.
In March 2023, an historic wind storm swept through our service territory, causing 16,000 members to lose power, with complete restoration taking a week.
Most recently, in June, a severe thunderstorm pounded our territory with wind and flooding rain and causing 14,000 outages. Complete restoration to our members took four days.
Farmers RECC works hard to provide reliable electricity to our members, but situations like these test our systems, our employees and our determination. We learn something new each time we experience a major outage and are constantly improving our restoration plan to better serve our members.
Just as these challenging times force Farmers RECC to reflect and improve, we hope it encourages our members to consider their own crisis plan and take steps now to prepare you and your family during major storms and outages.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends the items below as a starting point for storm and disaster preparedness, but you can visit www.ready.gov for additional resources.
• Stock your pantry with a three-day supply of non-perishable food, such as canned goods, energy bars, peanut butter, powdered milk, instant coffee, water and other essentials (i.e., diapers and toiletries).
• Confirm that you have adequate sanitation and hygiene supplies including towelettes, soap and hand sanitizer.
• Ensure your First Aid kit is stocked with pain relievers, bandages and other medical essentials, and make sure your prescriptions are current.
• Set aside basic household items you will need, including flashlights, batteries, a manual can opener and portable, battery-powered radio or TV.
• Organize emergency supplies so they are easily accessible in one location.
In the event of a prolonged power outage, turn off major appliances, TVs, computers and other sensitive electronics. This will help avert damage from a power surge, and will also help prevent overloading the circuits during power restoration. That said, do leave one light on so you will know when power is restored. If you have electricity-dependent medical or other essential equipment in your home, consider a back-up plan to power those devices should you experience an extended outage. Purchasing a generator and installing a transfer switch is certainly an option, but can be costly. Less costly options may include staying with friends or family who still have electricity or contacting your county emergency management officials for sheltering options.
Listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio for storm and emergency information, and check Farmers RECC’s website or social media for power restoration updates.
After the storm, avoid downed power lines and walking through flooded areas where power lines could be submerged. Allow ample room for utility crews to safely perform their jobs, including on your property.
Advance planning for severe storms or other emergencies can reduce stress and anxiety caused by the weather event and can lessen the impact of the storm’s effects. Sign up for NOAA emergency alerts and warnings, and bookmark our website in your cell phone to allow you to report your outage, stay abreast of power restoration efforts and other important co-op news and information.
I hope we don’t experience more severe or extreme weather this year, but we can never predict Mother Nature’s plans. At Farmers RECC, we recommend that you act today because there is power in planning. From our co-op family to yours, we hope you have a safe and wonderful summer.