PREPARING FOR POSSIBLE EFFECTS OF HURRICANE SANDY
Today, Governor McDonnell declared a state of emergency to prepare for the possibility of a significant severe storm hitting Virginia over the coming days.
What to Expect
Citizens should prepare now for a major weather event that is predicted to start Saturday and lasts at least through Tuesday. If the predictions are accurate, the storm will have a strong wind impact. The eastern third of Virginia could experience sustained tropical storm force winds (39-73 mph) for more than 48 hours. Flooding in low-lying coastal areas is expected. Downed trees and extensive power outages are likely. Heavy rain will start Saturday afternoon with amounts of up to eight inches possible along coastal Virginia and extending west toward Interstate 95. Residents in western and southwestern Virginia could experience high wind gusts and snowfall. All areas will have colder temperatures.
What should you do to Prepare?
- Stay tuned to local TV and radio stations for instructions and information.
- Make sure your family members, friends and neighbors are prepared for an extended weather event.
- Have flashlights and extra batteries, a battery-powered and/or hand-crank radio and extra batteries in case power goes out. Have food that does not need refrigeration and one gallon of water per person per day. Other important items are a first aid kit and medications, blankets and other supplies (www.ReadyVirginia.gov).
- Those in eastern Virginia who live in low-lying areas should be ready to evacuate if told to do so by local officials.
- Real-time road closures and traffic conditions are available by dialing 511 or visiting www.511Virginia.org.
What is Virginia doing to Prepare?
- The Virginia Emergency Operations Center is coordinating the state’s response with increased staffing 24 hours a day.
- Virginia State Police personnel have been placed on stand-by and will be pre-positioned to the areas where they will be needed based on the projected path of the storm. The Virginia State Police Swift Water Rescue Team is standing by.
- Chainsaw crews from the Virginia Department of Forestry are standing by with emergency response personnel to help with debris removal.
- Virginia Department of Transportation crews are ready to clear roads and ensure roads are safe for travel.
- The Virginia National Guard has been authorized to bring personnel on state active duty and begin prepositioning resources.
- The Virginia Department of Health is coordinating with hospitals and long-term care facilities to ensure they are prepared for storm impacts.
PLEASE REVIEW THE FOLLOWING SAFETY TIPS FROM DOMINION ABOUT WHAT TO DO BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER THE STORM
Safety tips and alerts are available through social media
- Twitter - www.twitter.com/DomVAPower,
- Facebook - www.facebook.com/dominionvirginiapower
- Website - www.dom.com
Before the storm
Dominion urges its customers to pay attention to weather reports and to take these common-sense steps to prepare for possible outages:
- Before a storm arrives, establish an online account with Dominion at www.dom.com (search: MYA) so you can easily report an outage if it occurs and obtain outage updates online without having to call in (search: reporting outages).
- Also be sure the telephone number and other information related to your account are up to date. This includes providing a cell phone number if that is the phone you would use to report an outage or other problem. This simple step will ensure immediate access of your account for faster reporting. Phone numbers can be updated online or by calling our special phone number update line at 1-800-222-0401.
- Assemble emergency supplies such as water, flashlights, radios, extra batteries, medicine, cash and other critical items in an emergency kit.
- Have a plan for how you and your family will stay safe, how you will evacuate if necessary and where you might go. Also consider who else you might need to check on during an emergency.
- Stay informed during the emergency through news reports and official information.
- Check out the hurricane evacuation guidelines available at the Virginia Department of Transportation’s website: http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/hurricane_default.asp. Also see the information on the Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s website at:http://www.vaemergency.com/readyvirginia/stayinformed/hurricanes.
During the storm, if electricity is interrupted
- Call Dominion’s toll-free service number at 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357) or go to www.dom.com. The automated reporting system provides fastest access. Please have your account number or the phone number that is listed on your account ready so you can move through the automated system to report your outage or receive an update.
- If you experience an outage, report it and then turn off major appliances such as heat pumps, water heaters and stoves. Unplug other appliances such as TVs, stereos, microwaves and computers. This will help protect the appliances and prevent possible overloads to the company’s system when power is restored. Leave one lamp or light on so you will be able to recognize when power is restored.
- If using portable or camp-type stoves or lanterns for cooking and lighting, ensure that the area is adequately ventilated.
After the storm
- Listen to your local radio station on your car or battery-powered radio for regular news and weather updates. Don’t rely on your neighbors to report your outage. Call Dominion at 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357) or go to www.dom.com.
- Stay away from fallen wires, flooded areas and debris. Treat all fallen wires and anything touching them as though they are energized.
- Follow safe operating procedures for generators. Never operate one inside your home or in an enclosed space, such as a garage.
- Follow safe operating procedures for electric generators. Never operate one inside your home or in an enclosed space, such as a garage. Do not hook them directly to the electrical system of your home. Electricity could flow backwards onto our power lines and endanger repair crews. The correct, safe technique is to plug directly into the generator with proper-sized extension cords.
- Visually inspect the area around your electricity meter. If you detect or suspect any damage, call us at 1-866-DOM-HELP.
Some useful links for the public and media during storms