AEP Ohio crews are at the ready for the upcoming winter storm — and are encouraging the community to be prepared too.
Snow and ice are currently predicted, which could cause extended power outages across its service territory. More than 1,000 AEP Ohio lineworkers as well as more than 700 AEP Ohio line contractors and tree crews are preparing equipment and supplies to be ready to respond to potential outages caused by storm damage.
“With the type of weather expected, crews prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Now is the time to prepare your loved ones for the possibility of a power outage and other dangers presented by winter weather,” said Dave Callahan, AEP Ohio emergency preparedness manager. “Our crews will be ready to begin restoration efforts as soon as the weather allows us to safely do so.”
Accumulation of ice on trees is a leading cause of power outages during wintry weather. Often even small amounts of ice can heavily impact power lines due to added weight and causing trees limbs to break.
“Our forestry crews work hard year round to keep trees and branches away from our power lines and equipment,” Callahan said. “But winter weather is unpredictable. The added weight of ice and heavy snow can cause trees to snap and fall into our lines, causing unforeseen damage.”
How to Prepare
Before the storm hits, make a plan for what you’ll do if there’s an extended power outage. Be sure to charge phones, laptops, portable chargers and other electronic devices that will help you stay connected.
Customers should also prepare an emergency outage kit that includes:
- Flashlights and fresh batteries
- Battery-powered radios or televisions
- Water for drinking
- Non-perishable food, including food for animals, and a manual can opener
- Important medications
- Manufacturers’ instructions for your generator (if you have one)
- Instructions for how to manually open your garage door
What to Do If the Lights Go Out
If the winter storm knocks out your power, here are a few tips to stay safe:
- Stay away from all sparking equipment and downed lines or anything they may be touching. Call 911 and AEP Ohio to report hazardous conditions.
- Notify AEP Ohio if you’re using a generator – this protects you and our lineworkers as they work to restore power.
- Never operate lanterns, heaters or fuel-fired stoves without proper ventilation.
- Never burn charcoal indoors. It releases poisonous carbon monoxide.
- Never remove debris that’s within 10 feet of a power line.
- Unplug major appliances to protect them when power is restored.
- Refuel heaters, lamps and generators outside and away from any flames or sparks. Wipe up spilled fuel immediately.
Assessing the Damage
After a major storm hits, our crews quickly begin to assess the damage and determine staffing needs once it’s safe to do so — sometimes coordinating crews from other parts of Ohio and other states to help with restoration efforts, depending on the severity of the damage. Assessing the impact of the storm takes time, but it’s an important part of our process to get the power back on as safely and quickly as possible.
Read here for more about this process.
Customers have several options to receive updates on restoration efforts, including: