Storm response planning and safety

GRDA Power for Progress… a weekly column from the Grand River Dam Authority

Approximately 40 Grand River Dam Authority employees, representing a variety of departments, gathered at the Transmission Maintenance Headquarters last week to discuss one important topic: storm response.

A scene we don’t want to see … It’s been a few years since ice did this kind of damage to its system but still, GRDA continues to refine and revisit its storm response plan for such times. At the same time, we want you to be safe as well, so we are passing along some tips to keep in mind if you ever encounter downed power lines.

While ice storms are not something any utility wants to face, this time of year is always a good time to revisit the response plan GRDA has in place for such natural disasters. Of course, that plan is also in place for other types of weather that could damage the system, such as tornados and wildfires. No matter the cause, GRDA wants to be as prepared as possible to respond, rebuild and restore reliable electricity.

To do that, Team GRDA’s experienced and dedicated team of professionals come together regularly to discuss and refine the storm response plan so that when the storms do come and the lines do fall, our crews can work safely and swiftly to get the lights back on for our customers across Oklahoma.

Of course, GRDA wants you to stay safe during such episodes too and the most important part of any outage storm response plan is understanding the dangers of downed power lines.

What follows are a few safety tips from the Electrical Safety Foundation International (esfi.org) and other sources. We pass them along in hopes you will stay safe this winter, no matter what weather may come your way.

  •  ALWAYS assume fallen power lines are energized. Stay at least 35 feet away from a downed power line and any nearby objects it may be touching, such as a fence or tree limb.
  • Remember, a power line does not need to be sparking or arcing to be energized, even if it’s sagging close to or on the ground.
  • Be careful not to put your feet near water where a downed power line is located.
  • Do not drive over downed power lines.
  • Contact your utility company immediately to report downed power lines outside your home.
  • Never touch a person who is in contact with a downed power line. Call 911 immediately.