Hurricanes and severe storms are a part of summertime in Northern Virginia and experts predict that this year's season could yield four major hurricanes this year in the Atlantic in the 2013 season.
Although summer doesn't officially begin until late June, Dominion Virginia Power is telling customers now that it's prepared for the June 1 start of hurricane season and urging customers to do the same. National Hurricane Preparedness Week begins next week.
Read: Experts Make Predictions for 2013 Hurricane Season
The company says it works year-round with state and local authorities to make sure it can respond quickly to the .
As the start of hurricane season approaches, Dominion reminds Northern Virginia residents that it also conducts refresher training and multi-day emergency preparedness and response drills.
You can save money if you purchase hurricane-related supplies and equipment beginning Saturday until the end of the month, when some of it will be exempt from state sales tax.
Dominion offers these tips for customers when a storm approaches:
- Treat all downed lines and anything touching them as energized and dangerous. Be sure your children know the danger.
- Report and check the status of power outages when using the company's website via smartphone, other mobile device or computer. You will need the account number or 10-digit phone number listed on the account, and the last four digits of your Social Security number, federal tax identification number or PIN. Phone numbers can be updated online through Manage Your Account or by calling our phone number update line at (800) 222-0401.
- You also can report an outage using Dominion's toll-free service number, (866) DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357). Program this number into your phone's memory or keep it handy so you can find it if the lights go out.
- Put together an emergency preparedness kit with needed supplies such as flashlights, water, medicines, portable radios, extra batteries and canned goods.
- Look after neighbors and relatives who may need assistance if they lose power.
Dominion offers extensive information online. Real-time electric outage maps and restoration information, safety tips and much more are posted at Dominion's website, its online storm center and through Twitter and Facebook.
General hurricane preparedness information is available at the Federal Emergency Management Agency's "Ready America" website. Weather reports including those provided by the National Hurricane Center are posted at here.
If severe weather is expected, take these common-sense steps to prepare:
- Check out the hurricane evacuation guidelines available at the Virginia Department of Transportation's Web site. Also see hurricane emergency information on the Virginia Department of Emergency Management's Web site.
- If you experience an outage, report it and then turn off major appliances such as heat pumps, water heaters and stoves. Unplug other appliances such as TVs, stereos, microwaves and computers. This may extend the life of appliances and reduce possible overloads to the company's system when power is restored. Leave one lamp or light on so you will be able to recognize when power is restored.
- Follow safe operating procedures for generators. Never operate one inside your home or in an enclosed space, such as a garage. Do not hook them directly to the electrical system of your home. Electricity could flow backwards onto our power lines and endanger repair crews. The correct, safe technique is to follow the instructions provided with the generator and always use proper-sized extension cords.
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