Severe Weather Awareness Week is designed to refresh, remind and educate everyone about the seasonal threats from severe weather and how to avoid them. It’s also a great time to make and practice your emergency plan, refresh your emergency preparedness kit and revisit what to do should you encounter a downed power line.
Severe Weather Awareness Week is April 17-21 in Minnesota, and a statewide tornado drill is scheduled for April 20. Great River Energy is taking this as an opportunity to ensure the public knows what to do if they encounter a damage on the electric system.
Severe weather can damage and knock down power lines and equipment, creating dangerous situations. If you see a downed or sagging power line, here are a few things to keep in mind.
- There is no way to tell if a power line is energized just by looking at it; always assume it can deliver electrical current strong enough to kill.
- Keep your distance and call 911 immediately.
- Never drive over a downed power line.
- Stay in your vehicle if a power line falls on your car or otherwise contacts your vehicle. Call 911 and wait for help to arrive.
- If you must exit your vehicle, jump with both feet out of the car and shuffle a safe distance.
The cooperative response in an emergency
Severe weather can cause widespread damage and extensive power outages. Great River Energy and its 27 member-owner cooperatives and customers work hard to restore power quickly and safely, first removing any threats to public safety, then following established priorities for making repairs that will restore power to the most members first.
Great River Energy strives to improve its ability to respond to events that disrupt transmission service to member-owners. One example of this commitment is the development of a Transmission System Restoration Plan (TSRP) that includes quick references for organization leads, field leads and trusted contractors as well as clearly outlined roles, functions and responsibilities.
The TSRP also references Federal Emergency Management Agency procedures, emergency contacts and other tools to support employees when working to recover from storms. The plan is reviewed annually and updated as needed.
“This plan is an elevated operating procedure that we use during severe events,” said Mark Peterson, manager of system operations at Great River Energy. “It is an integral part of staff training so that everyone understands their role in recovering from these events.”
Visit greatriverenergy.com/restoringyourpower to learn more about how your power is restored.