We are getting close to December 25th, and so many people hope for snow to help get them into the holiday spirit. We got our wish on December 20th with a few inches of snow that ended up causing serious power outages across Kansas City. Lenexa and Olathe were hit especially hard. Luckily, the power wasn’t out for more than 12 hours for most homes.
KCP&L PowerWatch Interactive Map
As we watched for updates for when the power would be back on, we found a really interesting tool provided by KCP&L. It is an interactive service outage map called PowerWatch that shows the number of homes that don’t have power in each zip code in Kansas City. (Click here to see it in action!)
You might be wondering how we were able to look at this website when our power was down… we used our smartphones!
You can select the city you live in to quickly zoom in to your neighborhood to know how many people are without electrical service. (This morning there were zip codes with more than 5,000 people with no power, and those zip codes were highlighted in red) You can also report an outage at your home and see service restoration progress using the links on the left of the map.
What To Do If Your Power Goes Out During Winter
(Attribution: The following list is from the Consumer Energy Center)
- UNLESS there is an emergency, do not call 9-1-1. That number should ONLY be used if there is an emergency, or if someone is injured or in danger.
- If there are power lines down in your neighborhood, call 9-1-1 and your utility company. DO NOT GO NEAR DOWNED POWER LINES.
- If you have a cell phone, call your electrical utility to report the outage and check on how long it will take to restore power to your neighborhood.
- Dress to stay warm – wear layers, including a sweater, sweatshirt or even a jacket. You lose heat through your hands and the top of your head. Wear gloves and a knit hat, not just a baseball cap.
- Avoid opening your refrigerator and freezer as much as possible. Food inside should stay cold for hours if the door is left closed.
- If you’re cold, take a warm shower – to increase your body temperature. Your hot water tank, even if electric, will stay warm for a few hours.
- Unplug some of your major appliances. When the power comes back on, all of those appliances can create a drain or power surge. This can harm sensitive equipment. To avoid a power surge when the electricity returns, turn off computers, TVs, stereos and other unnecessary electronic equipment at the power source. Leave a light on so you’ll know when the power is restored.
- If you have a generator, do not connect it to your home’s power system unless it has been properly installed and disconnects you from the main power grid when it is operating. If you do not disconnect from the power grid, you can be sending electricity back down the lines; not just to your home. That could be deadly for power company workers.
- If you have a regular wood stove or fireplace, you can use it for heat. However, DO NOT USE kerosene heaters, BBQs, or any outdoor type heater inside. Such devices create poisonous gases such as carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas given off by combustion and could kill.
- Check on your elderly neighbors or those who may have medical conditions or use medical machinery that operates on electricity. Make sure they are dressed appropriately warm. If someone needs to have machinery that operates on electricity, move her to a place where electricity is working.
- If you have to go out, drive carefully. Remember that traffic signals may be out during a power outage. Consider each intersection to be a four-way stop and drive defensively.