Protect yourself and prevent property damage by preparing for storms in advance and responding properly to dangerous conditions. Follow our tips to stay safety throughout all stages of a storm, whether it is approaching, underway, or safe conditions have already been established and restorations begun.
Be aware and prepare
- Assemble a storm kit. Gather all the supplies on our storm kit checklist.
- Establish a “safe room.” Ideally choose a windowless interior room. Keep your storm kit there.
- Charge your cell phone, laptop, and other devices.
- Turn the refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings. This will keep food fresh longer in the event of a power outage.
- Turn off and unplug unnecessary or sensitive electrical equipment.
- Use surge protectors.
- Unplug TVs before lowering a TV antenna or satellite dish. Be sure to also avoid power lines.
- Turn off all swimming pool pumps and filters. Wrap them in waterproof materials.
- Check on elderly neighbors and family.Make sure they are aware of approaching storms and ask if they need help with their preparation.
- Ensure your home is secure. Check that it’s secure, shuttered, and able to withstand a hurricane.
- Plan ahead if you’re staying elsewhere.If you plan to stay with family or friends during a storm, consider bringing your own food and water, medicine supply, and important papers with you
- Consider all downed wires to be energized and dangerous. This includes telephone, fiber optic, and cable TV wires. They may be in contact with energized electric wires that are not within your view.
- Never operate a generator indoors. Learn more about generator safety.
- If an outage occurs, disconnect sensitive appliances. To avoid potential power surge damage when electricity is restored, unplug computers, televisions, and microwaves.
- Leave a light switch on. To signal when the power comes back on.
- Remember frozen foods will keep about 24 hours. Food will stay fresh six to nine hours in a refrigerator before spoiling.
- Consider checking on others who may benefit from your assistance.
- Consult an electrician if your home has flooded. Don’t turn anything on until a professional has checked.
- Keep warm! But burn only wood or newspapers in your fireplace or woodstove.
- Consider moving to an alternate location. This may be a good idea if you anticipate an extended outage, especially for those with family members with special needs.
- If you must use a portable space heater, do so safely. Check to make sure it has an Underwriters Laboratories safety label and an automatic shutoff device that turns the heater off if it tips over or becomes too hot. Periodically check nearby objects to see if they feel hot.
Safety after a storm
Once safe conditions are established, our crews begin restorations. Please keep in mind that it may take a while for your power to return. Our crews target critical sites such as hospitals and public safety facilities first, before they can work on local neighborhood lines. While we work to restore your service, here is what you should keep in mind following a storm:
- Smell gas? After a disaster, check for the odor of natural gas before entering any area. If gas is detected, leave immediately and call National Grid from another location.
- Clear your vents. Check around vents and gas appliances for snow buildup to prevent malfunctions or carbon monoxide poisoning.
Snow safety tips to protect your outside natural gas meters:
Make sure your meter remains visible. After a snow storm, please make sure your natural gas meter is clear of accumulated snow and ice.
- Avoid allowing snow to completely cover your meter.
- Never shovel snow onto or against your meter.
- Use a broom to dust snow away from the meter; do not use a shovel.
- Never tap or hit the meter to knock or break away snow from the meter or gas piping.
- If your meter is completely coated in ice, or you think there is a safety concern with your meter, piping, or equipment, call our 24 hour emergency line at 1-718-643-4050 or call 911.
- Also, remember to keep your eaves and gutters clear and remove icicles hanging from your eaves or gutters.
Cleaning up after a storm
- Don’t rush to plug in! Once power is restored, reconnect your appliances one at a time to avoid overloading your circuits.
- If in doubt, throw it out. After a prolonged outage, check food in your refrigerator or freezer carefully for freshness.
- Refill your pipes. If you drained your plumbing system, refill your pipes only after heat is restored to your home or building. Check your entire system carefully for leaks.
- Remove tree limbs and debris. Check with your municipality on how to handle damaged trees and other debris. Although we remove broken utility poles, cleaning tree debris—including limbs cut by National Grid—is the property owner’s responsibility. This policy allows our crews to focus on our top priority: restoring power in your neighborhood as quickly and safely as possible.
- Hire a contractor. Seek professional repairs if your home has experienced flooding, and any appliances were submerged, or your gas connections are defective. When choosing a contractor, always get at least three quotes in writing, ask for references, consider workmanship as well as cost, and check with your local Better Business Bureau when possible for any complaints on record against the contractors.