Frankenstorm to slam Maryland - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Frankenstorm to slam Maryland

Brace yourself.

Frankenstorm is coming.

The chances of  Hurricane Sandy hitting in the next few days went from 60 percent to 90 percent and Baltimore Gas and Electric and PEPCO are preparing for possible power outages this weekend and early next week. No one wants to panic but better to react now than be sorry later.

The storm has the potential to cause devastating damage to our service territory,  Pepco warned in a statement. “Hundreds of thousands of customers could lose power during this potentially catastrophic event,” which may lead to outages for several days, Pepco said.

“We’re hearing forecasts that we could see heavy sustained winds for up to 48 hours as this storm makes an agonizingly slow track across our overall system,” Pepco President Thomas H. Graham said.

The question is not if it is coming but are residents prepared. Remember the last storm that basically put people without power for weeks on the East Coast. Frankenstorm could be worse. Food, candles, matches,  batteries, blankets, generators and flashlights are flying off the shelves.  Readers are advised to round up the items you need and put them in a area where you can find them easily because it will be more difficult when the lights go out.

If you have to work Monday of Tuesday, your office might not be open and Internet might be down. Plan for that possibility now.

The utility companies are urging customers – especially the elderly, and disabled to check their medical equipment and to have a back-up plan. Residents should make alternative arrangements if they leave their homes, create a list of emergency phone numbers and make an emergency kit to prepare for extended outages.

Customers in the Baltimore area can call BG&E at 877-778-2222 to report outages or visit its website by clicking here for more information on emergency storm preparation. Baltimore Post-Examiner will be tracking the storm during the week. Please send us your photos to BaltimorePostExaminer@gmail.comand we will publish them on our website. Stay tuned.

The storm also could impact early voting in some states. Check out: our presidential poll on the right side of the homepage.  You might be surprised who is winning.

Some reminders from BG&E

  • Listen to weather forecasts and plan ahead.
  • If you lose power, use flashlights. Do not use candles or kerosene lamps – they can create a fatal safety hazard.
  • Develop a family emergency plan that includes alternative arrangements should the need arise to leave your home. Make provisions for special needs of any family member such as the elderly, handicapped, medically affected, or infants. If you are dependent on electric-powered medical equipment, you are encouraged to seek alternate arrangements (Customers with Special Needs) in the event that your electric service is interrupted.
  • storm-safety-items.jpgKeep the following items on hand:
    • Fresh batteries
    • A portable radio
    • Flashlights
    • A manual can opener
    • Matches
    • A battery-operated or wind-up clock
    • Non-perishable food (canned and dried food)
    • Fuses
    • Sterno
  • Make a list of emergency phone numbers (including 877.778.2222 to report an outage to BGE) and keep a personal telephone book and one corded phone or cell phone on hand.
  • Keep a first-aid kit in your home and one in your car. Don’t forget to include:
    • Scissors
    • Tweezers
    • Safety pins
    • Aspirin
    • Eyewash
    • Rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide
  • Keep one gallon of bottled water available for each person in the household for each anticipated day without electric service.
  • If your home is served by well water, fill a bathtub with water for sanitation use.
  • Keep cash on hand.

Protect Your Food

To protect your food, keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Food will stay frozen for 36 hours or more in a fully-loaded freezer if you keep the door closed. A half-full freezer will generally keep food frozen for 24 hours. Consider freezing containers of water ahead of time. The blocks of ice will help keep your food frozen longer.

For more information on keeping food safe during a power outage, visit the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service: ABCD’s of Keeping Food Safe in an Emergency.

Protect Your Appliances and Electronic Equipment

Many home electronics are very sensitive and can be damaged during a power outage. Here are some precautions you can take to protect sensitive equipment:
  • Purchase equipment with built-in surge protection or a battery-powered back-up system.
  • Use electrical surge suppressors or arresters on your electronic equipment on properly grounded circuits. Most are designed to be plugged into a wall outlet.
  • Plug your computers and other sensitive equipment into a separate, grounded circuit to isolate them from fluctuations caused by major appliance restarts.
  • Consider having a lightning arrester installed at your main circuit panel.
  • If you own a business, or have a home office, you might consider installing an uninterruptible power supply for temporary backup power for your electronic equipment.
  • During a power outage, turn off all appliances, including your furnace, air conditioner, and water heater to avoid overloading circuits when power is restored to all appliances at once. Leave one lamp on so you will know when your service is restored.

Source: BGE.


About the author

Timothy W. Maier

Timothy W. Maier started out writing music, fiction and poetry and then turned to news writing where he spent the past three decades at news organizations in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, D.C. More recently he was the managing editor at the Baltimore Examiner. He now spends time with his family, dogs, trains for marathons and works as a media consultant. Contact the author.
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