Alabama Power crews and storm operations personnel are closely watching Gustav as it moves toward the Gulf of Mexico.
While it is too early to predict precisely where Gustav will make landfall, the company is making preparations for the possibility the storm will impact Alabama Power territory. Meanwhile, customers should also be making preparations in case the storm hits Alabama.
Key points on Alabama Power's preparations for Gustav:
- Alabama Power's Storm Center is monitoring the path and projected track of Gustav and is coordinating company resources in preparation for a possible landfall in or near Alabama
- Alabama Power crews have been placed on alert and are prepared to move quickly to restore power, should the storm hit Alabama Power territory. Other company personnel have also been placed on alert and are prepared to assist in storm operations.
- The company has been in contact with its Southern Company sister utilities, and with other utilities, about providing assistance, depending where the storm lands and the severity of the damage. Alabama Power has partnered with many other utilities in a mutual assistance program, in which participants provide crew support to each other when major storms strike.
During the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons, Alabama Power suffered historic damage from Ivan and Katrina. Despite numerous challenges, the company restored power to the majority of customers in two to three days and to 99 percent of customers in eight days. Since then, the company has continued to look for ways to improve storm restoration efforts. Among recent measures:
- The company has reviewed its storm plan and made adjustments in emergency storm assignments, staging area locations, logistics and communications equipment to improve response capabilities. The company also expanded the number of available employees who serve a variety of supporting roles in storm recovery operations.
- The company has built a new Critical Operations Center in Mobile. The facility houses the Power Delivery Distribution Operations Center for southwest Alabama, as well as a regional storm center that will be used to guide operations during severe weather. The facility is built to withstand hurricane conditions.
- The company has increased the inventory of materials for storm season, including pre-packaged kits that are ready for storm restoration. The company has also expanded its list of vendors who are ready to quickly provide materials and supplies during storm recovery operations.
STORM PREPARATION TIPS FOR CUSTOMERS
Alabama Power employees take severe weather seriously, and customers should, too. Here are some tips to be better prepared for Gustav and for any severe weather:
Before the storm
1. Charge cell phones, pagers and other electronic devices. Use a battery-operated
weather radio to stay informed. Have several flashlights with extra batteries on hand,
as well as a first-aid kit.
2. Keep a three-day minimum supply of water - one gallon per person per day,
plus three days' supply of food and drink that does not have to be refrigerated.
3. Turn down the thermostat to cool your house. If you keep doors and windows closed
after the storm, you can keep your house relatively cool for about 48 hours.
4. Seek shelter inside a sturdy building. In the event of a tornado, the safest place is on
the lowest level. Choose a small room with no windows, such as an interior closet,
hallway or bathroom.
After the storm
1. If power is out, call Alabama Power's automated reporting system at
1-800-888-APCO (2726). It is the fastest way to report an outage or a hazardous
situation, such as a downed power line.
2. Turn off appliances to avoid any potential safety hazards when power is restored.
3. Stay away from downed lines. Do not drive over lines or under low-hanging lines.
Keep children and pets away from downed lines. Do not attempt to remove tree
limbs or anything else caught in power lines. Call Alabama Power at
1-800-888-APCO (2726) or contact a local law enforcement agency if downed
lines are spotted.
4. Stay clear of areas with fallen trees or debris where downed lines may be hidden.
Stay away from areas where repair crews are working.
GENERATOR SAFETY TIPS
More and more people are purchasing portable generators to keep appliances running during outages. While generators can be a convenience, they can also be deadly when used improperly.
1. Read and follow carefully the manufacturer's instructions before using a generator.
2. IMPORTANT: Do not plug in portable generators to your household wiring. This
can cause serious injury to you and to Alabama Power employees working on
the lines in your neighborhood. Connect only essential appliances - such as
freezers and refrigerators - directly to the generator.
3. To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, operate generators outdoors in a
well-ventilated, dry area that is away from air intakes to the home, including window
air conditioners. A good location is an open shed. Never use a portable generator
indoors or in attached garages.
To learn more about how Alabama Power responds to storms, and how
you can be prepared for severe weather, go to www.alabamapower.com.
Click on "About Us" and then "Storm Center."