Preparing for a Storm

Emergency Preparedness Tips

A severe storm can cause power outages, and the best time to prepare is before a storm strikes. It takes at least two things to get through the effects of a severe storm: preparation and patience. Not only might they make the situation tolerable, sometimes they may actually save your life. Our goal is to get your power back on as soon as possible.

If you lose power, report your outage by calling 800-286-2000 or by using our online application.

With the first signs of an approaching hurricane or winter storm, please make sure CL&P has your up-to-date contact information, so we can get in touch before, during and after the storm.

Notice to customers with life-support equipment

If you depend on power for life-support equipment, we want to know, so we can help! CL&P maintains a list of customers who depend on life-support equipment so we can notify you before planned power outages or when there is a potential for severe-weather-related outages. When the power does go out, we’ll also reach out and provide information about helpful services.

To participate in this voluntary program, please call 800-791-3369.

Enrollment does not protect you from shutoff or outages. The program is intended to help you and your family better prepare for scheduled outages or when there is the potential for severe-weather-related outages – it does not mean you will receive restoration priority. It is critical that you establish a backup plan, such as a generator system or alternate arrangements, in the event of an outage or emergency. Restoration priority is only given to locations critical to public safety and well-being, such as police and fire stations, hospitals, water and sewage treatment plants and emergency shelters. 

For public safety reasons, during an emergency, CL&P provides requesting municipalities the service location of medical accounts, as well as the account contact information provided by customers. All municipalities are required to sign a customer information confidentiality agreement before they will receive any customer information. 


Storm preparation tips

Here are some suggestions to help you prepare and remain safe before, during and after a storm:

Keep your distance from any downed power lines, and call 911 to report them to the police or fire department. Treat all wires — even those that are hanging or downed — as if they are "live" (energized). Don't drive over downed lines, and if a downed line is in or near water, keep your distance from the water, even a little puddle. And whether a power line is down or not, don't touch anything that might be in contact with it, such as a tree limb.

Be sure you know if they will be affected by a prolonged interruption of power. You may want to talk with your pharmacist. You may also want to keep a small cooler handy.

Do this a half day or so before the storm is scheduled to hit. Be sure to return the settings to their normal position as soon as electricity has been restored.

Ice helps maintain cold temperatures in your freezer and refrigerator. Use plastic bags filled with ice (or water, if you have enough time to freeze it) in the freezer. Use block ice, if possible, in the refrigerator. And should the ice melt, you can drink the water.

This is vital if you depend on a water pump that might be disabled during a storm. Sanitize and fill spare containers with water for drinking. Fill your bathtub with water for use in the toilet. A bucket of water poured in the toilet bowl is all that's needed for flushing.

It is possible that your stove will not work, so you may wish to use your backyard grill for cooking. However, please beware! Do not bring the grill indoors. A grill without proper ventilation can be deadly.

Give yourself the greatest flexibility in meal preparation, and the greatest comfort once the sun goes down. Don't forget flashlights (one for each person in your family), batteries and a manual can opener.

Even a gas or oil furnace needs electricity to operate, so if you have a fireplace or wood stove as an alternative heat source be sure you have enough wood. A portable electric generator can be a valuable backup source of power to operate your furnace and appliances. Just be sure you have it installed by a licensced electrician. If you have no alternative heat, find out where an emergency shelter will be, if it is needed. Call 2-1-1, click www.211ct.org or contact your local Red Cross chapter. In frigid weather, if your power is likely to be out for more than a few days, you may want to call your plumber and ask about draining your home's water pipes so they don't freeze and burst.

Voltage irregularities can occur for any number of reasons during or after a storm, especially if there has been damage on or near your home. The safest thing to do is to unplug any sensitive electrical devices (e.g., TV, DVD Player, stereo, microwave, computer, iPod, answering machine, garage door opener). Planning ahead, you may wish to consider surge suppressors. They can be purchased either for individual pieces of equipment, or for your entire house.

During an outage, gas stations may not be operating, so it's important to fill your tank before a storm. You just never know where you might need to go or how long it might take to get there.

For example, be sure you know how to shut and open your electric garage door manually. And if you keep your cellar free from flooding by using a sump pump, be prepared to call your local fire department for help if you lose power for an extended period.

Be ready to stay informed with the storm's progress, as well as safety tips and clean-up operations. Don't forget fresh batteries.

Your kit should contain a flashlight, fresh water, prescription medicine, prepared foods and other items needed when the lights go out. For more information, download the American Red Cross brochure, Your Family Disaster Supplies Kit. It's also a good idea to have some extra cash on hand and to fully charge your mobile phone. By following these tips and preparing your own emergency kit before a storm strikes, you will be better able to weather the storm.