Anticipating possible severe weather from the approach and passage of Hurricane Ophelia early next week, Savannah Electric has activated phase I of its REACT disaster response plan.
When fully implemented, REACT (Restoration Evaluation And Communications Techniques) utilizes hundreds of employees, retirees and contract workers and thousands of outside resources in order to restore electric service safely, quickly and efficiently in the wake of natural disasters.
If high winds and heavy rain hit the area, trees and limbs will fall, bringing down power lines. The company is prepared to respond, but customers with medical or other special needs are strongly encouraged to make plans now in the event they are without power for several days.
Employees will not be able to restore power during the period of dangerous weather, which could last 12 hours or more, so restoration efforts will not begin until after the storm passes.
Immediately after the storm, damage evaluation is typically required before active repair work begins.
All Savannah Electric crews have been recalled from the Hattiesburg, Mississippi area where they were still working on restorations from Hurricane Katrina. They should be back in Savannah sometime Saturday and ready to work next week as needed.
Arrangements are being made with other utilities and contractors to provide additional support. Updates will be provided as warranted.
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NOTE: Please see important safety and preparatory tips below.
Important Storm Safety Reminders:
« Parents are urged to specifically remind children not to touch or go near any wire they may see, even if the wire appears to be "dead" or inactive.
« Downed lines could be hidden by storm debris or submerged in flooded areas. Look for wires before clearing debris or coming in contact with fences, vehicles or standing water.
« Use flashlights or battery powered fluorescent lanterns instead of candles or fuel lanterns to reduce fire risk.
« Avoid driving or be particularly cautious when driving as traffic signals and street lighting may be out.
« If portable generators are used, they must not be connected directly to your home`s electrical system. Individual appliances should be plugged into the generator per the manufacturer`s instructions. Whole-house applications must be separated from Savannah Electric`s system to prevent power from flowing back into downed lines creating a potentially deadly hazard.
How customers can help and prepare:
« Make a note of Savannah Electric`s Outage Hotline: 1-800-390-2834.
« Downed wires should also be reported on the Hotline at 1-800-390-2834 or by calling 911.
« Should power outages occur, large appliances such as air conditioners and stoves should be switched off and turned back on individually after power is restored.
« Power restoration will not be able to begin until well after dangerous weather conditions subside. Customers with critical medical needs should make other arrangements in the event a lengthy outage occurs.
« Leaving porch lights switched "on" during an outage helps crews assess restoration efforts.
« Other storm tips can be found at www.savannahelectric.com under "Storm Information."