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Power outages require customers to be proactive

After Hurricane Irene left an aftermath of downed trees and damaged electrical wires in the eastern states of the nation, energy customers throughout the region must take certain steps to minimize damage and increase safety during a power outage.

According to Salisbury Patch, residents must always assume that electrical equipment like a downed wire is energized. Stay away from any wires or tree branches that contact electrical equipment. When these situations are found, customers are encouraged to contact their electricity provider or local utility company.

In addition, the news source urges residents to turn off and unplug all electrical appliances to prevent damage from a power surge or a return of power. Keeping one light on, however, will help alert customers when service is restored. If consumers use a generator, they should never plug them directly into home wiring or in a household outlet because of the danger of injury or death. These products should also be placed outside to prevent carbon-monoxide poisoning.

The Department of Public Health in King County, Washington, advises residents to wait at least 15 minutes after power has been restored to turn on appliances and other electrical equipment.