What to do during power outages

Published: Jun. 20, 2016 at 11:02 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 20, 2016 at 11:24 PM CDT
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(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Thousands of Alabamians spent the weekend in the dark. Friday's storms caused widespread power outages.

It was so bad, Gov. Robert Bentley declared a state of emergency.

Alabama Power says the outages affected 115,000 of its customers. The Electric Cooperatives tell us outages affected more than 30,000 of their customers. Some didn't have power restored until late Saturday or early Sunday.

Montgomery resident Rachel Johnson was without power for 24 hours.

"It was awful, it was really bad," Johnson said.

No electricity meant no air conditioning. To make matters worse, Johnson's 8-year-old son was suffering from pneumonia.

"It was so hot his fever spiked, and his whole body was a rash," Johnson said.

The power was off long enough to ruin all of her refrigerated food. She lost a couple hundred dollars worth of food. She says she had to throw out everything inside her refrigerator and deep freezer.

"I was fortunate enough to be able to replace what we lost, but some families might not be able to," Johnson said.

Autauga County Emergency Management Agency Director Ernie Baggett says in his county at least 23 trees were knocked down along with power poles and lines.

Baggett says although people were warned, they weren't prepared. He believes this past storm is a perfect example of why it's always important to be ready before disaster strikes.

"Always be prepared and understand the basics. One of the things we always recommend is keeping a couple gallons of water in your freezer. That way if you lose power for a couple of days, that can act as a cooler. As that melts down, you have drinking water also that's been preserved," Baggett said.

Experts also say you should keep your fridge and freezer closed as much as possible while the power is out. They will stay cold much longer if they are kept closed.

Determine the coolest part in your home and make that a destination during hot times.

Also, close all windows and curtains during the day to keep your home as cool as possible.

During the hottest part of the day, Baggett suggests you go somewhere else with air conditioning, such as the mall, a restaurant or the library.

Baggett also reminds you to always stay hydrated.

"Make sure you drink plenty of water. That is the biggest key in all of this, that is making sure you hydrate because that leads to a lot of other problems," Baggett said.

As with all disasters, you should also keep plenty of regular medicines on hand, non-perishable food, water, batteries and flash lights.

It's always good to have a family severe weather plan.

Emergency officials say don't forget to check on your neighbors, the elderly, and pets and be careful when running generators.

Alabama Power also reminds you if you see a power line down, assume it is live and don't approach it. Call 1-800-888-2726 to report it.

Copyright 2016 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.