For immediate release: 12:00 p.m. – Friday, February 15, 2019 Due to the severe damage from the Spring Fire, San Isabel Electric is warning all Huerfano County residents to be prepared for prolonged power outages due to flooding in 2019.
Flooding conditions can cause prolonged outages even for those not anywhere near a flood zone. Flooding can also create electrical hazards, which many times are not readily visible.
Properties on high ground, even miles outside the burn scar and away from flood plains, are still susceptible to prolonged power outages due to flood damaged equipment several miles down the line.
How San Isabel Electric is preparing for flash flooding
San Isabel Electric is proud to serve as one of the agencies working with emergency managers to protect the communities that have already been devastated by the Spring Fire disaster.
Debris is what could cause the worst damage to San Isabel Electric’s system. To prepare, your electric cooperative is stocking up on common items such as wire, cabinets, poles and hardware like cross-arms and insulators.
In the event of a flash flood, San Isabel Electric will evaluate the damage and make a choice about the fastest way to safely restore power, either through temporary or permanent repairs.
The co-op has a mobile substation that can literally replace any substation in its’ system if it were taken out by a natural disaster. The mobile sub can be in place and operating within a day and power up to 6,500 meters, or in other words, all of San Isabel’s meters in Pueblo West.
The co-op is also investigating options and possible locations where large generators can be placed to assist with extended power outages.
How to prepare for flood-related power outages
No one knows exactly where potential flooding will occur, where the water will go, where the debris will go or where damage will be. But everyone knows water and electricity don’t mix.
Be prepared for prolonged outages by keeping the following items in an easy-to-find emergency supply kit.
- Three-day water and food supply (one-gallon per person per day).
- Flashlight, extra batteries, manual can opener, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, NOAA weather radio with tone alert.
- First-aid supplies, hand sanitizer and at least one week’s supply of prescriptions and medications for the family.
Portable or permanently installed standby generators can come in handy during long-term power outages. However, if you do not know how to use them properly, they can be dangerous. Contact a qualified vendor or electrician to help you determine what generator is best suited to your needs. Before using, read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Invisible electrical hazards
Flash floods result in quickly moving water that can sweep away objects in its path. Such flooding can develop within minutes, and in addition to the destruction caused, the waters can also cover up electrical hazards. The speed and depth of flood waters are often difficult to visually asses. Never approach electrical equipment in a boat or on foot, even if lines are on the ground or underwater. That equipment could still be energized.
Even if lines are on the ground or equipment is underwater, don’t assume they are dead. Don’t approach lines or electrical equipment that could still be energized. If you ever see a downed line while walking or driving, stay far away and call 911 immediately.
If your home has flooded, and the electricity was not turned off beforehand, do not enter any room where water may be in contact with electrical equipment or outlets.
Keep in mind that electrical equipment does not have to be visibly arcing or sparking to be dangerous.
Never attempt to turn off power at the breaker box if you must stand in water to do so. If you cannot reach your breaker box safely, call San Isabel Electric to shut off power at the meter at 1-800-279-7432 or 719-547-2160.
Even after the water has receded, there are important safety steps yet to take. Have an electrician check the condition of your home before you turn the power on after a flood. Before turning on an appliance that has been wet, make sure it has been inspected by a service repair worker.
More flood preparedness information can be found at ready.gov/floods.
As a not-for-profit cooperative utility, San Isabel Electric provides affordable, reliable electricity with exceptional service to communities throughout southern Colorado. Serving nearly 20,000 Member-owners and 24,000 meters, San Isabel Electric has been keeping the lights on since 1938. We don’t just serve communities. We are part of communities.