Winter storm warnings calling for three to eight inches of snow tonight across the service area of Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation has cooperative employees on high alert and preparing to respond quickly should power outages occur.
Predictions are calling for heavy, wet snow which can weigh down tree limbs and power lines, leading to outages. Members should report outages by calling the cooperative’s PowerLine: 1-800-448-2383.
“Our linemen are organizing supplies and vehicles so that we’re prepared to minimize any outage impact this storm may have on our members,” said Renee Whitener, director of public relations. “Dispatchers, engineers and all operations staff are monitoring conditions and are ready to respond any time of the day or night. Our call center and member representatives are also ready to support members and the restoration response if outages occur,” she said.
At BlueRidgeEMC.com, members can find an online Storm Room under the News Tab complete with preparedness and safety tips. Also available is the cooperative’s online outage map that will show current outages along with estimated times of repair.
To stay safe and warm if outages occur, Blue Ridge Electric recommends members make an emergency kit that includes the following items and is located in a central area that each member of the household can locate quickly:
- Flashlights and fresh batteries
- Radio with fresh batteries if needed for weather and news reports
- Blankets, sleeping bags, quilts. Have extra layers of clothing handy as well.
- Extra water for drinking and cooking
- Nonperishable food items, along with disposable plates and utensils and a manual can opener
- A grill with extra propane or charcoal and lighter fluid for cooking (not to be used for indoor heating purposes due to dangerous carbon monoxide fumes).
- Battery operated clock
- For babies, extra formula and diapers
- Thermos to keep liquids warm
- A non-cordless phone–it’s likely to operate even when power is out
- First aid kit, including prescription medications
- Emergency telephone numbers such as Blue Ridge Electric's PowerLine, local emergency management, police and hospital
- If someone in the home is dependent upon electric-powered life-sustaining equipment, it’s a good idea to have an emergency evacuation plan or a standby power generator in place.
- Have electronic devices such as cell phones, laptops and tablets fully charged
During widespread outages, the cooperative also provides information on its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/blueridgeemc and Twitter: www.twitter.com/blueridgeemc.
Blue Ridge Electric serves some 74,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Wilkes, Avery and Alexander counties.
Dispatcher Tony Wheeler monitors the Blue Ridge Electric system as cooperative employees prepare for tonight's snow storm. Members should report outages by calling PowerLine: 1-800-448-2383.