The City of Morganton is preparing to respond to the effects of Irma. The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory for the region through 4:00 am Tuesday morning. City Electric Services Director Brooks Kirby said that high winds tonight will clear old limbs from trees and will likely bring down weak trees.
During the storm and after it passes, everyone’s primary concern should be safety – their safety, the safety of the first responders, and the safety of the utility workers who respond to clear streets and restore power. Please follow these safety tips.
1. IF YOU HAVE AN EMERGENCY, CALL ‘911’.
2. STAY INDOORS, DON’T VENTURE OUT INTO THE STORM. Do not venture out into the storm if at all possible. High winds can move debris at amazing speeds, push vehicles off roads, and knock down trees. Stay out of the storm.
3. DON’T DRIVE THROUGH STANDING WATER. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is due to walking into or near flood waters. People underestimate the force and power of water. Turn around, don’t drown. http://bit.ly/2gVMr6N.
4. DO NOT TOUCH ANY DOWNED LINES. Never, ever touch a downed line, or anything a downed line is touching such as the pole, ground, or limbs. STAY CLEAR and call the Electric Services Department at 828-438-5277 to report the downed line. City utility workers will respond as soon as possible.
5. PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT’S ABOVE. After the storm, be sure to pay attention to what’s above your head. Storms can leave large, broken limbs hanging in trees; those limbs can fall at any time, days or weeks after the storm. Always look up, and pay attention before walking under trees after the storm.
6. USE GENERATORS PROPERLY. If you lose power, and have a generator, use it properly.
a. Keep the generator outside
b. Use an approved drop cord, rated for the size of load
c. Power individual appliances and lights as needed
If you use a generator to power your house, YOU MUST SHUT OFF THE MAIN BREAKER to your house to prevent back feed into the electrical system. Back feed is a when a generator sends voltage through a home’s electrical lines back out to the electrical system where our lineman may be working. This is very dangerous and can delay repairs while our electric lineman search for sources of back feed. All generators – gas, diesel, solar – can generate back feed.
“Safety is our first priority,” Kirby said. “If we do have power outages, customers can expect the outage to last several hours, but our guys will work as quickly, and as safely, as possible to get the lights back on.”
City, resident responsibilities
As a reminder to residents and businesses, the City only clears trees from rights of way such as power lines and from City streets. The City will not clear downed trees from private property; those are the responsibility of the property owner.
If a tree or limb damages a home or business’ electric service; that also is the responsibility of the property or business owner to repair.
“If a tree pulls the electrical service off your house, you’ll have to get a licensed electrician to repair the service connection before the City will turn power back on to your house,” Kirby said.
The permit fee will be temporarily waived.
To report power, cable, water, or sewer outages, downed trees, or other safety hazards, call the appropriate department below.
COMPAS Cable - 438-5353
Electric Services - 438-5277
Garbage & Streets - 438-5248
Water & Sewer - 438-5276
Public Safety - 437-1911 or 437-1211
City Hall - 437-8863
For emergencies, call “911”.