What to Do Before an Outage
Police, Fire, and Emergencies – call 9-1-1
Non-Emergencies – call 3-1-1
Of course, it’s hard to know just when a power outage will occur. Weather forecasts of impending severe storms are a good indicator, but power outages can also occur because of vehicle crashes, overhanging limbs, even wildlife. It’s best to formulate a plan before the power outage occurs.
Outage Preparedness Checklist
- Sign up to receive Outage Alerts. Once you are signed up, you will be able to report an outage and receive outage alerts and updates via text messaging.
Learn how to sign up for Outage Alerts
- Update the phone number associated with your City of Austin Utilities account. Call 512-494-9400 to verify and update, or visit City of Austin Utilities to update your account profile online.
- Gather all relevant paperwork and keep it in a safe, waterproof, accessible place. It is a good idea to keep all necessary information in the same location. Necessary information can include your Austin Energy account number, the phone number associated with your account, other emergency numbers, and family and neighbor contact information.
- Assemble a Storm Kit. Storm kits should include: A flashlight, extra batteries, and glowsticks (don’t use candles, they could start a fire). Other items include blankets, a first-aid kit, a portable, battery-operated radio, bottled water, canned or dried food along with a hand-operated can opener.
Make a basic emergency supply kit (pdf)
- Store your Storm Kit in a convenient place. Your Storm Kit should be readily available if your power goes out during a storm. Be sure everyone in your family or business knows where the Storm Kit is located.
- Consider using external power sources for your electronics. Even if fully charged, electronic devices like mobile phones and laptops can quickly run out of power. You can purchase external power sources that use batteries to extend usage time.
- Regularly backup your computer. It's a good idea to back up your computer’s hard drive. A lightning strike can damage the hard drive and you can lose valuable electronic records.
- Have critical supplies on hand. Gather additional items, such as prescription medication and specialty items for infants, seniors, or disabled individuals.
- Plan how to pass the time. In extreme situations, such as ice storms or extended flooding, the outage may last quite a while and you may be housebound. In such extreme cases, a battery-operated AM/FM radio can help to pass the time. Non-electronic board games may seem like quaint relics from the past, but they can help stave off boredom — especially with children.
Frequently Asked Questions
At Austin Energy, the safety of our crews and customers is our utmost concern. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we get with regards to safety preparedness before a storm.
If a storm is approaching and a limb is touching a power line, should I trim the limb before the storm hits?
No, the time to trim limbs is not just before a storm hits. Call Austin Energy 512-494-9400 to request tree pruning. Never prune or even touch a limb that is in contact with a power line.
If a storm is approaching, what appliances or electrical equipment should I unplug?
Power surges associated with lightning strikes or outages can damage a wide range of appliances. It’s a good idea to unplug televisions, computers, and game consoles.