Power Outage Emergency Preparedness

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Sudden power outages and disasters can occur without warning. While Estes Power and Communications responds immediately to power outages, outages can be frustrating and troublesome, especially if they last for a long time. For prolonged power outages, follow the steps below to keep the members of your household as comfortable as possible until the situation is resolved.

Multiple outages are prioritized by the types of services affected, such as schools and hospitals, followed by the number of people affected. Power and Communications cannot base its response on one individual's medical situation. Crews will respond as soon as possible, but residents who require oxygen or other electric-powered medical equipment should have a 24-hour backup plan.

For more information on how to prepare for possible power outages or other disasters, visit Ready.gov.

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Planning ahead is a crucial first step to being ready for an emergency.
Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area. Know how you'll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that's familiar and easy to find.

As you prepare your plan, tailor your plans and supplies to your specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Some things to consider when developing your plan:

  • Different ages of members of your household
  • Responsibilities for assisting others
  • Medical needs including prescriptions and equipment
  • Disabilities or access and functional needs including devices and equipment
  • Pets or service animals

Another consideration in our unique mountain environs is house location and surroundings. Strong winds and heavy snows can bring down trees, damaging service lines and house connections. This damage needs to be repaired by an electrician and inspected by an electrical inspector before Power and Communications crews can reconnect the power. Keeping your service line free and clear of trees will help mitigate the risk of damage. Keep the number of several electricians and tree companies on hand in case of storm damage.

You can find a variety of sample emergency plans at Ready.gov. Download and fill out one of them or use them as a guide to creating your own. Be sure to practice your plan with your family and/or household.

Here are a few emergency supplies your kit should have:

  • Three-day supply of drinking water - estimate one gallon of water per person per day
  • Non-perishable food that is easy to prepare
  • Radio, battery-powered or hand-crank
  • Flashlights and fresh batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle
  • Manual can opener
  • Toilet articles and sanitary needs
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Extra blankets and warm clothing, including a hat
  • Sleeping bags
  • Clock, battery-powered or wind-up
  • Any special medications you may need
  • If you have pets, food and water for them
  • Cash
  • A plastic tub or backpack so you can keep these things together

Keep your emergency kit in a safe, dry location and don't forget where you stored it.

For more information on building an emergency supply kit check out the FEMA Emergency Supply List and the Red Cross Emergency Kit websites.

Know how to access community information resources.

Check the Town of Estes Park Emergency Information page for information on on-going issues.

Check the mobile-friendly Public Information Outage Map

Information and updates on major outage events will be posted on the Town of Estes Park's homepage. Updates will also be shared on Twitter and Facebook.

Sign up for your county's emergency notification system: LETA911, the Larimer Emergency Telephone Authority, or Boulder County. These notifications can be received in a variety of ways, including cell, home, and work phones, and by text messaging and/or email.

Power Outage Tips

  • During an outage, open the refrigerator and freezer doors as seldom as possible. If you have to get into the refrigerator or freezer, don't leave the doors open long. Food will stay frozen for about 72 hours in an unopened, non-operating freezer.
     
  • If you have an emergency heating source, learn how to use it properly to prevent fire and ensure proper ventilation.
     
  • During an outage turn off lights, heat sources, and any sensitive electronics, such as TVs, DVD/blue ray player, computers, game consoles, and stereos.
     
  • If you have a back-up generator, be sure to notify Estes Park Power and Communications, have it properly installed with an automatic transfer switch, and inspected by an electrical inspector. The transfer switch keeps your generator from sending power back through the utility grid and endangering the lives of those repairing power lines. The transfer switch also protects your generator from damage when power is restored.

How You Can Help
When there's a big outage, crews sometimes have to bring sections of customers back on bit by bit. There can be problems if lots of electrical devices that use plenty of power (like water heaters, space heaters, and electric heating systems), all try to come back on at the same time. This large rush of current is called "cold load pickup" and it can sometimes cause problems on the system. That's why linemen sometimes have to bring customers back on in stages, delaying restoration times for all customers.

If customers follow this advice and turn off those energy hogs until at least 20 minutes after power has been restored, everyone can get their electricity back on faster.