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National Grid offers tips for emergency preparedness

Submitted Guest Editorial

Wed, Sep 14th 2016 02:55 pm

Company encourages customers to plan ahead, gear up and stay safe

By National Grid

During "National Emergency Preparedness Month" in September, National Grid is encouraging customers to take action now, before severe storms or an emergency strikes, to be ready for events that can disrupt daily life or even put lives at risk.

"Safety is our top priority for customers, always. This month, in particular, we're reminding our customers of the importance of planning for emergencies so they will have what they need to take care of themselves and their families, and to help others in their community," said Ken Daly, president of National Grid in New York. "Whenever storms cause significant damage and devastate communities across our region, customer preparedness is critical to our response and helps our crews in getting the lights back on quickly and safely."

"At National Grid, being prepared for emergencies is a year-round commitment," said Michael McCallan, director of emergency planning and preparedness for National Grid. "The company regularly reviews and enhances emergency response plans, and conducts drills and employee training to reinforce employees' ability to contribute during storms and service restoration."

National Grid also continuously maintains and strengthens the reliability of its electricity and gas systems. To help minimize tree-related damage to the network - a leading cause of service interruptions - the company's award-winning vegetation management program works to promote tree maintenance, before storms hit.

In addition to emergency preparedness efforts and working around the clock to restore power in an outage, National Grid works closely with the American Red Cross to prepare the communities it serves. 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 of its customers, such as food, shelter and water, during an emergency. The program allows the Red Cross to help communities prepare for and recover from natural disasters. With support from National Grid and other companies, the Red Cross is able to respond to nearly 70,000 disasters each year.

The company also uses multiple communications channels to advise customers on what they can do to be better prepared for storms and possible power interruptions.

"We know our customers depend on us, which is why we work hard to improve preparedness and our communications with customers and communities, every one we serve," Daly said.

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, batteries and a battery-powered radio are critical items to have in an emergency supply toolkit. A well-thought-out emergency plan and a fully stocked toolkit could mean the difference between life and death.

For a complete list of recommended items for your emergency supply toolkit, visit here.

•Plan for your locations. Emergencies and disasters occur without warning, making it important to have a plan and the supplies you will need for the different locations you and your family frequent beyond your home: work, school, vehicles, places of worship, for example, along with shopping areas and entertainment/sports sites such as theaters, ball fields and arenas. How will you get to a safe place? How will you contact one another? How will you get back together, if separated? These are all important questions to consider when creating your plan.

Visit here to download the family emergency plan and share with family and friends.

•Anticipate your risks. Think about where you live and identify the hazards that have happened or could occur in your area. Residents in areas that usually receive significant snowfall might plan more for snowstorms, while 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 to make 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 here.

•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. Online at nationalgrid.com, complete information on managing storms and outages is available here.

Under the "Storms and Outage" page, National Grid's "Outage Central" webpage provides customers with multiple ways to receive restoration updates, safety tips, important phone numbers and more. Customers can sign up to receive text and email alerts, connect through Facebook and Twitter, and report or check on power outages.

Broadcast text alerts. Customers can opt-in to receive broadcast text alerts by texting the word STORM to NGRID (64743).

Email alerts. Customers can sign up to receive storm alert emails and get access to outage reporting, e-billing and more here. They can opt out of email alerts anytime by clicking the "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of every National Grid customer email.

Social Media. Customers can follow National Grid on Twitter @nationalgridus and connect with National Grid on Facebook for company information or news specific to their service area. Customers can also visit YouTube to view "Power Outages: Preparation and Restoration," a video that provides a comprehensive look at how National Grid prepares for and prevents outages.

•Take advantage of apps. Customers who access nationalgrid.com on their mobile devices can stay connected during service interruptions and get safety information here. From the mobile site or app, customers can view outage maps, report an outage, check the status of an outage, and view restoration information by area. The app and mobile website also provide important storm safety tips and answer frequently asked questions, along with offering contact information for National Grid customer service (1-800-642-4272).

The American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Association are among many organizations that offer downloadable mobile apps for first aid, shelter locations, and disaster assistance. To view the American Red Cross "Be Red Cross Ready" website, visit here.

•Get involved. National Grid encourages customers to find volunteer opportunities to support community readiness. Taking an active role in community planning and preparation, supporting relief efforts, and donating funds or goods when you are able can help your neighbors in times of disaster.

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