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June 12, 2011 / Arlington Unwrapped

When the Lights Go Down In the City – What To Do In Arlington When the Power Goes Out

Sometimes our area can be hit unexpectedly hard by even short storms or severe weather. So its a good time to review what Arlington residents should do when the lights (and the AC!) goes out…

Power outages can be caused by a number of things – lightening, high winds, heavy rain, snow or ice, etc.  Arlington, compared to other areas that are further out, has a large number of mature trees AND above ground power lines – the perfect recipe for losing power during storms.

What Should I Do Before I Lose Power:

The first thing you should do is put the number for Dominion Virginia Power in your cell phone. This way you’re not scrambling to find their phone number in the dark. Reporting an outage right away is important – it assists the company in determining what areas are affected and to plan their response.  You can reach them at 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357).  Calling is also helpful because you can find out additional information on estimated restoration time and you can arrange for Dominion to call you and let you know when power has been restored.

Another preventative thing you can do prior to an outage is keep an eye on potential situations near your home that could result in loss of power. Low hanging branches, sparking transformers, etc.. are all things Dominion needs to know about.

If you are experiencing severe weather that makes a power loss seem likely, go ahead and unplug televisions and other sensitive electronics  – and of course always use surge protectors.

Have at least one flashlight in the house – and put it in a place thats easy to remember and to access!

What Should I Do When A Power Outage Occurs

  • Call Dominion to report the outage
  • If you are using a generator in the event of an extended outage, review Dominion’s safety tips
  • Dominion’s website (if you are able to access the internet during an outage) has an interactive map that tracks the number of customers affected and their areas – this can help you determine how long the wait may be
  • You can also follow the power company on Twitter
  • Avoid downed power lines, and do not move any tree limbs or items that are lying on or near power lines.
  • If you keep your fridge and freezer closed, refrigerated items should be okay for at least 4-6 hours. Afterwards use good judgement in determining what items need to be pitched.
  • If you’re looking for ways to get out of the house, remember that neighborhood businesses are likely affected as well – call to make sure that the movie theater, shopping mall, restaurant, etc… is open and has power.
  • Remember that stoplights are also often affected by power outages. Whether they are dark, or are blinking yellow, treat intersections like 4-way stops!
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