At Central Texas Electric Co-op, member safety is important to us. Below is some important safety information to help keep you and your family safe.
Individuals who rely on electrically powered oxygen or other medical equipment should always have their own personal backup plan in case of power outages and other potential emergencies. While we work hard to provide reliable electric service, we cannot guarantee the power will never fail.
Prepare an outage kit to have on hand before any outages occur. A fully stocked outage kit will be crucial if extended outages occur. Here are some ideas of what a kit can include:
- Battery-powered radio
- Flashlights & fresh batteries
- Emergency supplies of water
- Non-perishable, easily-prepared foods
- Drinking water
- Manual, non-electric can & bottle openers
- Candles, matches/lighters
- Portable heater (gas or oil)
- Camping equipment
- Charger for cell phone or laptop
- Blankets & pillows
- Medications & personal hygiene products
- Non-cordless phone
- First-aid kit
- Pet supplies
- Fire extinguisher & smoke alarm
- Family & emergency contact list
- Hand sanitizer, baby wipes, and toilet paper.
- Books, deck of cards or games
Other ways to be prepared:
- Sign up for our SmartHub app, it is the best way to report outages and stay informed about the restoration process.
- Have an exit plan, if you are unprepared for extended outages you need to have a place to go where you can be safe.
- If you have a telephone system that requires electricity to work, such as a cordless phone, plan to have a standard telephone or cellular phone ready as a backup. It is also a good practice to keep a charging bank in full power to charge cell phones or other devices if needed.
- If you have a fireplace or woodstove, keep kindling and dry firewood on hand.
- When there is impending dangerous weather, fill your bathtub with water if your supply depends on electricity.
- Fill up your vehicles with gas in the event that you need to evacuate or relocate to another area; and if you use a portable generator, fill up fuel cans.
- Fill plastic containers with water and place them in the freezer, you can use them to help keep food cold during a power outage as it thaws out to drink.
- Fill bathtubs or large containers or tubs with water before bad weather for extra water.
- Winterize vehicles, not just automobiles.
- To help prevent burst pipes, close any shut-off valves that lead to outside faucets and drain excess water from the lines. Also, drain lines in unheated areas of your home like the attic.
Pets and Livestock
- Keep extra pet food on hand or in your emergency outage kit.
- Keep plenty of freshwater for your pets.
- For smaller livestock water troughs, you can place floating objects in water to keep them from completely icing over and make removing built-up ice easier.
- Filling jugs with saltwater and enough air to float can make an automatic waterer function since the water around the jug will not freeze.
- For livestock tanks, have equipment and/or tools available to drill or bust holes to allow for watering. ">
- Before calling the co-op during a power outage, check your home's panel box. A blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker could be at fault.
- If you've determined that the source of the interruption is outside your home, report your outage at once. Outages can be reported:
- By using our SmartHub app or by phone at 1-800-900-2832
During an Extended Outage
- We will provide updates whenever possible on our website and Facebook. Do not use Facebook to report outages.
- Turn off large electric appliances and equipment so that lines are not overloaded when power is restored.
- Use caution and be sure to have adequate ventilation when operating generators, lanterns, heaters, and fuel-fired cookstoves.
- If you use a generator, have it installed by a certified electrician. Improperly installed generators may feed energy back into the distribution lines, endangering our linemen and others.
- Watch weather reports closely. If the weather is expected to worsen or outages are prolonged, consider staying with friends, family, or in a local shelter.
- If you are safely able, check on elderly relatives, neighbors, and friends to make sure they’re safe, especially if they live alone.
- If it's a hot time of year, dress in loose, lightweight clothing and stay on the coolest, lowest level of your home.
- Use natural ventilation to cool homes, and consider purchasing battery-powered fans.
- Drink plenty of water and avoid heavy meals, caffeinated drinks, and alcohol.
- Close all drapes and blinds on the sunny side of your residence.
- Take your family and pets to a basement or other cool location if you have one. Also, consider going to an air-conditioned public place during warmer daytime hours.
- Stay inside, and dress warmly. Staying warm is a priority. Dress in several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight warm clothing. Wear hats, mittens, and scarves.
- Close off unneeded rooms to keep the heat in your living areas.
- Place a draft block at the bottom of doors to minimize cold drafts from entering the house.
- When using an alternative heat source, follow operating instructions, use fire safeguards, and be sure to properly ventilate. Always keep a multipurpose, dry-chemical fire extinguisher nearby, and know how to use it.
- Keep a close eye on the temperature in your home. Infants and people over the age of 65 are often more susceptible to the cold. You may want to stay with friends or relatives or go to a shelter if you cannot keep your home warm.
- Keep your faucets on a slow drip to keep pipes from freezing. Catch the dripping water in a clean container, sink, or tub. If your pipes freeze, turn off the main water supply to prevent further damage.
- Don’t use your stove or oven for heat. Gas stoves and ovens produce carbon monoxide, and electric ones pose a fire risk when not used as designed.
- Keep refrigerator or freezer doors closed. A freezer that is half full or full can keep foods frozen 24 to 48 hours. Foods can stay safe in an unopened refrigerator for up to four hours. If an outage lasts longer than four hours, remove and pack meat, milk and other dairy products in a cooler with ice.
- Maintain food supplies that do not require refrigeration.
- Use safe alternative food preparations. A barbecue grill is an excellent way to prepare food. Always grill outside.
Stay Away From Downed Power Lines
When outside, stay away from downed power lines and be alert to the possibility that tree limbs or debris may hide an electrical hazard. Treat all downed or hanging power lines as if they are energized. Lines do not have to be arcing or sparking to be live. Warn others to stay away and call 911 or contact us.
When in Doubt, Throw it Out
Throw out perishable food in your refrigerator that is above 40 degrees. If food has an unusual color or smell, discard it.