Hurricane season: We’re ready. Are you?

Hurricane season: We’re ready. Are you?

Looks like 2020 is at it again. Weather scientists are predicting a more active than normal hurricane season this year. Even though we’re working a bit differently these days, we’ll be ready if any of those storms affect central and eastern Pennsylvania.

We want you to be ready too. Stay alert by tuning into local weather reports and check out our tips to prepare for severe weather.

When the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its hurricane season predictions on May 21, acting Administrator Neil Jacobs noted the upcoming season was no different than any other, in the sense that early planning and preparedness is essential. We couldn’t agree more.

NOAA predicted the likelihood of 13-19 named storms, 6-10 hurricanes and 3-6 major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher) this season, which officially runs from June 1 through November 30. What’s considered average? NOAA says a normal hurricane season will bring 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

The approaching warmer weather not only ushers in hurricane season, it’s also prime time for thunderstorms and other severe weather. However, our continued grid investments have reduced the impact of these storms. From 2011 to 2019, we reduced the annual number of customer interruptions by 30 percent. Since 2010, we’ve also reduced the overall frequency of these interruptions by nearly a third.

Our extensive use of smart grid technology helps us reduce outages, along with other things like replacing aging equipment with stronger, more storm-resistant poles and wires, comprehensive tree trimming, improved lightning protection, expanded use of animal guards, and more.

Strong storms like hurricanes will still produce some power outages, but no matter the circumstances, we’re prepared to work around the clock to get the lights back on. The pandemic may have us working differently, but we’re still delivering for our customers no matter what Mother Nature – or 2020 – throws at us.

Hurricane season ahead warning sign, clouds and empty field in background

Visit pplelectric.com/safety and pplelectric.com/outage for great information on how to stay safe before, during and after a storm.

Debunking lightning myths

Debunking lightning myths

Mother Nature’s electrical fireworks can be deadly. Nearly 50 people are killed by lightning each year in the U.S. and hundreds more are severely injured.

Courtesy of the National Weather Service, check out a few lightning myths and facts to stay safe:

MYTH: If trapped outside during a lightning storm, lie flat on the ground.
FACT: Lying flat just increases your chance of getting hit by potentially deadly ground current. Keep moving toward a safe shelter.
MYTH: If there is no rain or clouds, you’re safe from lightning.
FACT: Lightning has a long reach. “Bolts from the blue” can strike 10-15 miles from a thunderstorm.
MYTH: A lightning victim is electrified and you risk electrocution if you touch them.
FACT: The body does not store electricity and it’s perfectly safe to give first aid. Don’t be afraid to come to their aid. You could save a victim’s life.

For more electrical safety tips, visit pplelectric.com/safety.

Do you have an emergency plan?

Do you have an emergency plan?

Does your family have a plan in case of a natural disaster or other emergency? According to the Ad Council, half of Americans don’t have an emergency plan for their family. I’m embarrassed to say that I used to be one of them.

My “Momma Bear” instinct causes me, like many of you, to go to great lengths to protect my loved ones. I’ve childproofed our home and installed safety gadgets like baby gates, outlet covers, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. I wear my seatbelt in the car and always make sure my passengers buckle up. I thought my family was prepared and well-protected. Then as part of National Preparedness Month, I read the 50 percent statistic and realized we didn’t have an emergency plan.

What would we do if a severe storm caused us to lose electricity for several days? What would we eat? Would we have enough to drink? What else did my family need to be prepared? Every family has its own needs. Some of us have children, pets or are caring for someone with special medical needs. My plan two years ago would be quite different than my plan today.

Part of being prepared is making these plans ahead of time. Life is bound to throw us a few unfortunate curve-balls. No one likes to think about them, but it’s our responsibility to do so, not just for ourselves, but for those who depend on us. It’s far easier to keep your cool if you have plans and an emergency kit on hand than to try to come up with them on the fly.

In this particular instance, I knew the basics of what to do. But I had never actually sat down and organized “the plan” for my family. September is National Preparedness Month. I used this time as my reminder to re-evaluate my plan, update critical information and make sure my loved ones do the same.

Don’t have a plan? Now is the perfect time to get organized.

Ask yourself:

  • Do you have a place to meet if you and your family members get separated?
  • Do you have an emergency kit?
  • Does everyone in your family know who they’d contact and where to go in an emergency? What if you aren’t at home?

 

Emergency Plan Emergency Kit

 

The resources from the Federal Emergency Management Agency at ready.gov will help you make your emergency plans. There are materials for the whole family.

Here are the items I found most helpful:

  • Prepare, plan and stay informed. Visit ready.gov
  • Remember to keep a paper copy of your emergency contact list. If your phone battery or laptop loses their charge, you won’t be able to get to your saved contacts.
  • Use this checklist to build your emergency kit.
  • Once you have a kit, learn how to maintain it.
  • Let’s not forget about the kids. It’s just as important for them to know what to do so that they can stay calm in an emergency situation:  ready.gov/kids

This blog post is my reminder to you. If you don’t have a plan, create one. If you already have one, make sure it still suits your family and meets your particular needs. And always remember, it’s important to stay safe.