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Power Outage? Here’s What to Do

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(Posted 5:00 a.m.)

As the storm continues to do its work, you may well find yourself without power. Snow is predicted to continue throughout the day, along with heavy winds. Be prepared and know what to do before your power goes out.

Plan Ahead

  • Keep your digital devices charged!
  • Back up critical files on your computer.
  • Unplug electrical equipment. Spikes and surges could occur as power is restored, damaging equipment.
  • Make sure that your emergency supply kit can be found easily if the lights go out.
  • If you use well water, pre-plan by filling a bathtub with water for use with sanitation, etc.

If Your Power Goes Out

  • Report your outage! Never assume a neighbor has reported it.
    • Dominion Virginia Power: 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357), TTY 711; view outage map
    • Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC): 1-888-335-0500 or 703-335-0500, TTY 711; view outage reports
  • Use a flashlight or battery-powered lantern for emergency lighting. Never use candles.
  • Unplug electrical equipment until a steady power supply returns.
  • If you have a police, fire or medical emergency, call or text 9-1-1. For non-emergency needs, call 703-691-2131.

Food Safety

Food safety is a big concern if you lose power for a long time. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. First use perishable food from the refrigerator. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours. More tips.

Prepare for Possible Power Outages

(Posted 4:09 p.m.)

You can lose power at any time for a variety of reasons.

Add in heavy rains + saturated ground + high wind gusts + potentially wobbly trees, and that’s a recipe for possible power outages.

Plan Ahead

  • Keep your digital devices charged!
  • Back up critical files on your computer.
  • Unplug electrical equipment. Spikes and surges could occur as power is restored, damaging equipment.
  • Make sure that your emergency supply kit can be found easily if the lights go out.
  • If you use well water, pre-plan by filling a bathtub with water for use with sanitation, etc.

If Your Power Goes Out

  • Report your outage! Never assume a neighbor has reported it.
    • Dominion Virginia Power: 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357), TTY 711; view outage map
    • Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC): 1-888-335-0500 or 703-335-0500, TTY 711; view outage reports
  • Use a flashlight or battery-powered lantern for emergency lighting. Never use candles.
  • Unplug electrical equipment until a steady power supply returns.
  • If you have a police, fire or medical emergency, call or text 9-1-1. For non-emergency needs, call 703-691-2131.

Food Safety

Food safety is a big concern if you lose power for a long time. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. First use perishable food from the refrigerator. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours.  More tips:

power-outage-food-infographic

 

Reporting Power Outages and Downed Trees

Posted at 4:20 p.m.

ice covered treeSporadic power outages have been reported in the county. Heavy snow could cause downed trees and power outages. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

If a Tree Hits Your Home

  1. Get everyone safely out of your house. Use your cellphone or go to a neighbor and call 9-1-1.
  2. Go to a nearby shelter (another home or open public facility) to stay dry and out of the elements.
  3. Stay away from the home until public safety employees can access the home for structural stability and ensure utilities are controlled.
  4. Only after all of these safety measures have taken place should you call your insurance company.

For downed trees:

  • Adjacent to Public Roads: Contact Virginia Department of Transportation at 1-800-FOR-ROAD, TTY 711.
  • On County Parkland: Contact Fairfax County Park Authority at 703-324-8594, TTY 703-324-3988.
  • Posing Hazard to Public Areas: Contact Fairfax County Urban Forestry at 703-324-1770, TTY 703-324-1877.
  • On Private Property: Removal is the property owner’s responsibility.

Power Outages

If your power goes out report your outage; never assume a neighbor has reported it.

  • Dominion Virginia Power: 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357), TTY 711; view outage map.
  • Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC): 1-888-335-0500 or 703-335-0500, TTY 711; view outage reports.

In addition, follow these safety tips:

  • Use a flashlight for emergency lighting. Never use candles.
  • Unplug electrical equipment until a steady power supply returns.
  • Practice proper generator and surface heater safety.
  • Leave one light turned on so you know when power is restored.
  • Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic signals will stop working during an outage, creating traffic congestion. If you come upon a non-working traffic signal, treat each traffic light as a four-way stop, with the driver on the right having the right-of-way. Proceed with caution only when traffic permits and enter intersections only when it is safe to do so, using your turn signals to let other motorists know your intentions.
  • If traffic lights are on flash, treat a flashing red as a stop (treat it like a stop sign). For flashing yellow, proceed with caution.

High Winds Expected: May Cause Roads to Freeze

In addition to tomorrow’s forecasted snow, the National Weather Service also has issued a wind advisory for the D.C. region through noon on Friday, Jan. 3. This means that wind gusts up to 55 mph are expected.

These high winds could damage trees, down power lines and make driving difficult for trucks and other tall vehicles.

Predicted snow totals as 4 p.m. today

Predicted snow totals as 4 p.m. today

If your power goes out report your outage; never assume a neighbor has reported it.

  • Dominion Virginia Power: 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357), TTY 711; view outage map.
  • Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC): 1-888-335-0500 or 703-335-0500, TTY 711; view outage reports.

Here’s more information on how to report downed trees or power lines.

Drive carefully tonight and tomorrow morning because the winds and low temperatures may cause roads to freeze.

Severe Storms Predicted Between 3-4 p.m.

Posted 2:06 p.m.

From our afternoon conference call with the National Weather Service:

  • The worst of the storm will hit our area between 3-4 p.m. Not all areas of our large county may be affected.
  • The most severe aspects of the storm (very strong winds) are predicted to last about 30-40 minutes.
  • The winds are the biggest concern, with gusts up to 70 mph.
  • We could receive 1-2 inches of rain, which could lead to some localized flooding.

What you can do:

  • Secure outdoor items if you’re at home.
  • Keep a close eye on watches, warnings and forecasts.
  • View map of roads that historically flood and be aware of flood threats while driving. Keep children away from creeks as water may rise rapidly (we’ve had loss of life before).
  • Keep your phones charged in case you lose power. If you lose power, contact your provider (Dominion or NOVEC).
  • If trees come down, stay away from any downed wires. Here’s who to contact if a tree falls.
  • Only call 911 in an emergency. Call 703-691-2131, TTY 711, for public safety non-emergencies.

Listen to Dave McKernan, our Office of Emergency Management coordinator, discuss the storms in less than one minute:

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