President’s Message – May 2021

Summer Storm Season: Are You Ready?

Doug Birmingham headshotSummer is just around the corner. I am sure that many of you are like me and welcome opportunities to be outdoors and enjoy the warm weather. Summertime brings many of my favorite activities like cooking out with family and friends, afternoons on the water, and simply slowing down a bit to enjoy life.

But summer months also make conditions suitable for dangerous storms. The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1, and Hurricane Preparedness Week is May 9 through 15. These potential weather events can cause destruction to our electrical system. I want you to know our crews are ready and standing by to respond should power outages occur in our area.

When major storms knock out power, our line crews take all necessary precautions before working on any downed lines. I would encourage you also to practice safety and preparedness to protect your family during major storms and outages.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends the steps below as a starting point for your storm and disaster preparedness kit. Visit the Ready website for additional resources.

  • Stock your pantry with a three-day supply of nonperishable food, such as canned goods, energy bars, peanut butter, powdered milk, instant coffee, water, and other essentials.
  • Confirm you have adequate sanitation and hygiene supplies, including towelettes, soap, hand sanitizer, diapers, and toiletries.
  • Ensure your first-aid kit is stocked with pain relievers, bandages, and other medical essentials. Make sure your prescriptions are current.
  • Set aside basic household items you will need, including flashlights, batteries, a manual can opener, and a 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 help prevent overloading the circuits during power restoration. That said, do leave one light on so you know when power is restored. If you plan to use a small generator, make sure it is rated to handle the amount of power you will need. Always review the manufacturer’s instructions to operate it safely.

Listen to local news or an NOAA Weather Radio for storm and emergency information, and check our Facebook page 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 perform their jobs safely, including while on your property.

I hope we don’t experience severe storms this summer, but we can never perfectly predict Mother Nature’s plans. At Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative, we recommend 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.

Doug Birmingham