Preparing for an Outage

To report an outage, call 601-581-8600

EMEPA maintains a very reliable electrical system and continues to make improvement, but there will be times, when the power is disrupted. It pays to be prepared.

  • Have an alternate source of light. Keep flashlights and extra batteries in a designated place where they can be found easily. Lanterns and candles are not recommended because they can cause fires.
  • Keep a hand-powered or battery-powered radio with fresh batteries, and stay tuned to local news bulletins and weather reports.
  • Keep your automobile gas tank full.
  • Maintain a supply of cash. Credit cards and ATM machines may not work if the power is out.
  • Stock emergency food and related items. Ideal choices are nonperishable foods that do not need cooking, such as canned fruit, canned milk, peanut butter, crackers, cereals and cereal bars, canned soup, and bread. Stocking up on refrigerated or frozen foods many not be a good idea if the power goes out.
  • Keep a manual can opener, along with disposable plates and utensils.
  • Keep your gas grill available year-round for cooking during an outage.
  • Store extra water in clean jugs, bathtubs, laundry tubs, or other containers if you know a storm is on the way.
  • During an outage, you may flush a toilet, and then pour water into the toilet tank (not the bowl) before flushing again. Turn off the water supply to the toilet before flushing. Toilet tanks hold several gallons of water, so plan accordingly. Remember, melted snow or ice can be a source of water during winter outages. During the summer, you may be able to use water from a pool or hot tub.
  • Plan an alternate source of heat in the event of a cold-weather crisis. If you have a fireplace or wood stove, keep adequate kindling and firewood on hand. Have extra clothing, blankets, or sleeping bags available.
  • Consult your plumber or other home specialist for other steps to take in the event of a prolonged outage. These may include draining water from pipes, or other recommendations particular to your home, your situation, or your appliances. Have instructions on hand from your heat pump manual or your contractor on how to operate your heat pump after an outage.
  • Plan ahead for alternate sources of power or alternate lodging if someone in your household depends on electricity to operate life support systems. Check with your local fire department, which may offer temporary shelter. EMEPA’s outage restoration policy is to make repairs that will restore service to the most people in the least amount of time.
  • Place your portable generator outside, never in the house, garage, attic, crawl space, or basement. Make sure your generator is connected safely; an improperly connected generator can cause serious injury or death. When your power comes back on, turn off and disconnect your generator.
  • Keep fresh batteries in your smoke detectors.
  • Make sure that you have a corded phone available. Cordless phones will not work without electricity. If you have a cell phone, an auto adapter may be needed to recharge your phone.

Steps to properly using a portable generator

Step 1: Find a safe location for your generator in regard to emissions and refueling. (NEVER use in a garage or under a porch). Check air filter, oil and fuel level prior to use. A enerator should be kept on level ground.

Step 2: Use a heavy duty cord (preferably 12 gauge), with adequate length to reach necessary electrical appliances. Have extra extension cords on hand to avoid overloading. When routing cords through windows, use towels to fill the air gap.

Step 3: If generator has a main breaker, connect the extension cord(s) to the generator with the breaker in the off position. If generator does not have a main breaker, do not connect the generator until after starting.

Step 4: Start the generator and allow engine to warm for 60 seconds. Close the main breaker to power appliances. If generator does not have a main breaker, first insert plug in generator, then plug in each individual load item.

Step 5: You should plan in advance how you want to utilize your emergency power. If you do not know how to calculate how much load to place on your emergency generator, contact EMEPA for advice.

Visit these sites for more emergency preparation information and advice:

Federal Emergency Management Agency

National Hurricane Center

East Mississippi weather

National Weather Service

The Weather Channel

FEMA Storm Watch

Red Cross preparations/disaster relief