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Power Outage and Emergency Safety

Take precautions to ensure safety during a power outage or electrical emergency

  • Assemble a preparedness kit to help in the event of any kind of emergency, including items such as a flashlight, non-perishable foods, manual can opener, bottled water, blankets, battery-operated radio and clock and extra batteries.
  • If someone in your home is on life support, be sure to have a back-up system and a plan of action for an outage or emergency.

During a power outage

  • First check fuses and circuit breakers. If the power failure is not caused inside the home or business, customers should report the outage to their electric service provider. Rocky Mountain Power customers should report an outage by calling toll free at 1-877-LITES OUT (1-877-548-3768).
  • As much as possible, do not open refrigerators and freezers – they will keep food and perishables inside cold for a longer period of time if not opened. Your full freezer should keep food frozen and safe for about two days when kept closed.
  • Preserve body heat by wearing multiple layers of clothing. Add a hat and blanket to stay warm. Blankets and towels around windows and doors help keep the heat in.
  • Never use kerosene or propane heaters inside without proper ventilation. They create dangerous fumes. Also, don’t ever use charcoal in your house or garage.
  • Protect your pipes during freezing weather by wrapping them with insulation. Also, leave faucets dripping so water won’t freeze and crack the pipes.
  • Turn on your porch light when power is back in service. After crews complete repairs, they patrol the area of the power failure to see if lights are on.

Generator Safety

  • Make sure generators are properly wired for your home or business, and don’t connect a generator directly to your home’s main fuse box or circuit panel. This can create a dangerous backfeed hazard for line crews.
  • Never plug your generator into an outlet, and don’t connect a generator directly to your home’s main fuse box or circuit panel.
  • If you must provide temporary power to your home’s wiring system, the generator must be connected through an approved transfer switch that will isolate your house from the electric utility’s system. The switch must comply with the National Electric Code and local building codes. These include permits, inspection and installation by a licensed electrician.
  • To temporarily power an appliance, plug it directly into the generator.
  • Use properly sized and grounded extension cords, and keep cords hidden so they don’t present a tripping hazard.
  • Always properly ventilate a portable generator. Gasoline-powered generators produce carbon monoxide and the fumes can be deadly.
  • Make sure that the total electric load on your generator won’t exceed the generator’s rating.
  • Always properly ventilate a portable generator. Gasoline-powered generators produce carbon monoxide and the fumes can be deadly. As an added protection, ensure that carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are installed and working properly.

If you see a downed power line

  • Stay far away from all downed power lines and utility lines. Always assume a downed wire is dangerous and that the power line is energized, even if it’s not sparking. Touching a live line or anything near it – like a fence or a puddle – can cause electricity to flow through your body, resulting in serious injury or death. Stay safe and stay away.
  • Keep everyone, including pets, out of the area and immediately report the downed line to the local power company. Report downed lines to Rocky Mountain Power by calling toll free at 1-888-221-7070; or call 911.
  • Never touch a person or object that is touching a power line. Call 911 immediately if someone is in contact with a live power line or has been injured by electrical contact.
  • Don’t drive over downed power lines.
  • If a power line falls on your car and you’re inside it, stay inside until help arrives and safe conditions are ensured. You will likely remain safe from electrical shock as long as you’re inside the vehicle. If you must escape due to a car fire, leap from the open vehicle with both feet together. Continue to hop away with both feet together, taking care to never touch the vehicle once you’ve made contact with the ground. Warn others to stay clear of the vehicle (at least 30 feet away) until power company officials arrive and ensure that the line is no longer energized and hazardous.

Safety Indoors

  • Keep appliances away from water and always make sure your hands are dry when using them.
  • Make sure outlets near water sources have properly working Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) to shut off power in time to prevent serious injury. GFCIs should be used in bathrooms, garages, near kitchen sinks and outdoors. If your outlet has red and black “test” and “reset” buttons, it has a GFCI.
  • Repair or replace an appliance if the cord is frayed.
  • Childproof outlets.
  • Use extension cords wisely. Never exceed the cord’s load rating.
  • Use three-pronged plugs only in three-pronged outlets. Never remove a prong from three-pronged plugs – the third prong grounds electricity and is there for safety.

Safety outdoors

  • Pay attention to the location of all overhead power lines. Always keep yourself and anything you’re handling at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines.
  • Make sure you “call before you dig” when putting in fence posts, planting trees, installing sprinkler systems or excavating for new construction. Call 211 to contact Blue Stakes of Utah or the underground utility locating service in your area.
  • Use electric power tools only in dry weather.
  • Never sit on, play on or dig near pad-mounted transformers (four-foot-tall, green metal boxes most often found in neighborhoods and parks). And never pry them open. They are locked up for safety. If you find one that has been unlocked or damaged, call us immediately at 1-888-221-7070.
  • In winter, remember to watch for power lines while cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Deep snow packs can bring you within touching distance of some overhead lines, so pay attention to your surroundings while you’re having fun.

Outdoor safety for children:

Remind children to:

  • Never climb power poles, transmission towers or substation fences. If a tree is near a power line, do not build forts or climb in it.
  • Fly kites far away from power lines – if a kite does get caught in a power line, release the string at once.

For more outage preparation and safety tips, and other electrical safety information, visit Rocky Mountain Power or call 1-800-375-7085.