Ranch near Ovando, Montana

And The Thunder Rolls

Posted: June 1, 2021
Mark Hayden, GM

Summer Storm Preparedness

Now that summer is in full swing, we welcome the opportunity to get out of the office and head outdoors! We’re lucky to live in the Northwest, where there’s no shortage of outdoor activities. In fact, summer days spent on the lake, and family camping trips are among some of the fondest memories I have with my kids.

Summer is a season we all look forward to, however it doesn’t come without its shortfalls. The warm summer months create the perfect conditions for forest fires and summer storms. These are probable events when living in the Northwest and they have the potential to wreak havoc on our electric system. However, MEC members can rest easy knowing that the Co-Op takes a proactive approach to wildfire planning and mitigation, which limits our exposure to wild fires. Additionally, our crews are equipped and at-the-ready, no matter the time of day or night.

When a major storm rolls in and causes an outage, MEC’s crews take all necessary safety precautions before they get to work on clearing debris or repairing downed lines. It’s vital that line workers practice safety when they’re on the job. We encourage our members to practice safety, as well.

To prepare and protect your family during major storms and outages, FEMA provides a list of basic storm-preparedness essentials, which I’ve listed below:

  1. Stock your pantry with a three-day supply of non-perishable food, such as canned goods, energy bars, peanut butter, powdered milk, instant coffee, water and other essentials (i.e., diapers/wipes, formula and toiletries).
  2. Confirm that you have adequate sanitation and hygiene supplies including towelettes, soap and hand sanitizer.
  3. Make sure your first aid kit is stocked with bandages and medical essentials, and that all medication and prescriptions are current.
  4. Set aside basic household items you might need, including flashlights, batteries, a manual can opener and portable, battery-powered radio or TV. Another gadget to consider, is a fully-charged, portable power bank, which can be used to charge your iPad or cell phone.
  5. Ensure emergency supplies are easily accessible and located in a known place.

In the event of a prolonged outage, turn off major appliances, TVs and computers. This will reduce impact from power surges, and will prevent overloading the circuits during restoration. Leave one light switch on, so you know when power has been restored. If you plan to use a generator, make sure it’s rated to handle the amount of power you will need, and always review the manufacturer’s instructions prior to use.

During the heat of the storm, we encourage members to tune into local news or radio stations, from their portable devices or radios, to get emergency information. Members can also check the main page of our website or visit our Facebook page, for restoration updates. To stay in-the-know before, during and after a storm, members can sign up for text and/or email outage alerts.

Mother Nature is unpredictable. As many of our members learned in January, pre-planning for severe storms or major outages is important and can significantly reduce stress when the power goes out. I encourage you to work with your friends, family or neighbors to develop a storm preparedness plan and kit, because there is POWER in planning.