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National Grid offers tips for emergency preparedness

by jmaloni

Submitted

Thu, Sep 12th 2013 07:00 am

National Grid provides customers ways to plan ahead, gear up and stay safe

On the heels of the second anniversary of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, and as the anniversary of "Superstorm" Sandy quickly approaches, National Grid helps customers to plan ahead, be prepared, and stay safe in the event of an emergency.

During National Emergency Preparedness Month in September, National Grid continues its own efforts to improve its emergency preparedness plans and wants to remind customers to plan ahead and prepare for emergencies. Taking action now, before an emergency strikes, will help customers efficiently and safely manage crises that can upset their daily routines.

 "Our top priority for customers is safety. During National Emergency Preparedness Month, National Grid is reminding our customers about the importance of planning for emergencies in advance so they know what they need to do to take care of themselves and their families, and to help others in their communities," said Ken Daly, president, National Grid New York. "The storms that impacted our region over the last several years caused significant damage and devastated communities. Our customers' preparedness was critical to National Grid's response and restoration efforts and helped our crews to make considerable strides to get the lights back on and gas flowing quickly and safely."

At National Grid, being prepared for emergencies is a priority. The company routinely reviews and enhances its emergency response plans and conducts drills and employee training to reinforce employees' ability to contribute during storms and participate in service-restoration efforts.

 "We know customers depend on National Grid, which is why we are continuously working hard to improve preparedness in every community we serve," Daly said.

National Grid also continuously maintains and strengthens the reliability of its electric and gas system. Additionally, the company has an award-winning vegetation management program that promotes tree maintenance to help minimize tree-related power outages or damage to the network - before storms hit - a leading cause of service interruptions.

National Grid offers the following tips to help customers prepare for emergencies:

Build an emergency supply kit. Water, nonperishable food, first aid materials, prescriptions, flashlight and a battery-powered radio are a few of the items that are critical to include in an emergency supply toolkit. A fully stocked toolkit and well-thought-out emergency plan could mean the difference between life and death. Emergency supply kits should include basic tools and survival items. For a complete list of recommended emergency supply toolkit items, visitwww.ready.gov.

Plan for locations. Emergencies and disasters occur without warning, which is why it's important to have a plan, as well as supplies, for the different locations you and your family may frequent.These locations include home, work, school, vehicles, places of worship, shopping areas and entertainment/sports locations like theaters and arenas. How will you get to a safe place? How will you contact one another? How will you get back together? These are all important things to consider when creating your plan. Visit www.ready.gov to download the Family emergency plan and send it to your family and friends.

Plan for risks. Think about where you live and identify the hazards that have happened or could happen in your area. Residents living in the north or the mountains may need to plan more for snowstorms, but residents who live along the coast may be more affected by hurricanes. Depending upon the nature of the emergency and your circumstances, one of the first important decisions is whether to stay where you are or evacuate. You should understand and plan for both possibilities. No matter where you live, make sure you plan accordingly. For more information on risk planning, visit www.ready.gov/make-a-plan.

Know your community's plan. Find out from local government how it communicates with residents in an emergency. This could be in the form of radio/TV broadcasts, telephone, door-to-door notifications or a community siren. Get informed now so you can stay informed when it counts.

Stay connected to National Grid. Customers that access nationalgrid.com on their mobile devices can stay connected about service interruptions and learn safety information through the site. Once on the mobile site, customers will be able to view outage maps, report an outage, check the status of an outage, and view restoration information by area. The mobile site also features a section with important storm safety tips and frequently asked questions along with contact information for National Grid's customer service team. In addition to National Grid's mobile website, customers can also stay tuned to storm information in the following ways:

  • Broadcast text alerts. Customers can opt-in to receive broadcast text alerts by texting the word STORM to NGRID (64743). Once customers text the number, NGRID will ask them to verify the state they are located in. After choosing their state, they will be registered to receive updates for that state.
  • Email alerts. Once customers sign up, they will be able to enjoy several self-service options, including easy access to outage reporting, e-billing and more. Customers can always opt out of email alerts by clicking the "unsubscribe link" at the bottom of all National Grid emails.
  • Social Media. Customers can follow National Grid on Twitter @nationalgridus, or friend it on Facebook at National Grid MA, National Grid RI or National Grid NY depending on service area.

Use new technologies: With the proliferation of smartphones, many people turn to apps and social media to learn about disasters, seek help in an emergency and to share information about themselves and others during an emergency. The American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Association offer downloadable mobile apps for first aid, finding shelter and disaster assistance to help the public. Visit www.redcross.org or www.FEMA.gov for more information or to download an app now. To view the American Red Cross "Be Red Cross Ready module," visit http://arcbrcr.org.

Get involved: National Grid encourages community members to get involved before disaster strikes and find opportunities to support community preparedness, such as volunteering to support disaster preparation and relief efforts, taking part in the community planning process, and showing support by donating funds or goods, which may help the needs of your community in times of disaster.

National Grid also provides customers with multiple ways to receive up-to-date information on restoration details, safety tips, important phone numbers, and more through its "Outage Central" webpage. Here, customers can sign up to receive text and email alerts, stay informed through Facebook and Twitter, and report or check on power outages.

Customers can also visit the "Outage Central" webpage to view "Power Outages: Preparation and Restoration," a video that provides a comprehensive look at the steps National Grid takes to prepare for and prevent outages.

In addition to emergency preparedness efforts and working around the clock to restore power during an emergency, National Grid works closely with the American Red Cross to prepare communities. As part of the American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program, National Grid operates behind the scenes with the Red Cross and first responders to address the basic needs, such as food, shelter and water of its customers during an emergency. The annual Disaster Giving Program allows the Red Cross to help communities prepare for, and recover from, natural disasters. With the support from National Grid and other companies, the Red Cross is able to respond to nearly 70,000 disasters each year.

For more information on National Preparedness Month, and how you can get started with a plan and emergency toolkit, visit www.ready.gov or www.redcross.org. Customers can reach National Grid directly through its toll-free customer service line at 1-800-642-4272.

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