Summer weather is usually a delight. But when it isn’t, it can strike with a vengeance. Summer—with its inevitable rain, hail and lightning , in addition to possible hurricanes, floods, droughts, and the like—is filled with sometimes severe weather that can leave families and communities in need.
No one can stop extreme weather from happening – but everyone can be prepared. For individuals and families, many weather safety tips are available from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and should be read before emergencies occur. Water utilities are also hard at work preparing for extreme weather. Today, there is a plethora of preparedness systems at work—before, during and after severe weather events—to help keep communities safe and resilient.
In response to the trend of extreme weather events over the past handful of years in particular, we have worked hard proactively to enhance our resiliency in operations. In preparation, we are building systems designed to stand up to and provide continual service during extreme weather, reinforcing floodwalls at our facilities, and arranging supply lines to provide fuel and service to generators at facilities to prepare for power outages. Still, we’d be remiss to rest easy on these things alone. We also need to have reactive emergency responses in place, so we are prepared for elements out of our control.
For example, our facilities are equipped with emergency diesel generators, field crews are trained in performing repairs in less-than-ideal conditions, customer service teams are trained for communications during emergencies, and technology has been enhanced to alert customers of potential or actual disruption of service as well as what to do during these times.
These are some of the ways We Keep Life Flowing even during weather emergencies. But, weathering the storm works best if everyone does their part to prepare and follow protocols for safety. Here are some things you can do to be ready:
- Pay attention to weather forecasts every day—remember summer storms can come with little warning.
- Sign up to receive weather alerts and service alerts from your utilities.
- Make sure you home has at least three days’ worth of water, food, medications, etc. for everyone in your family.
- Put together an emergency kit that can be transported if you need to evacuate.
- Listen to and follow instructions from emergency service providers. If your community suggests or mandates evacuations, do it. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
- Remain alert. During or after the storm, never let anyone into your home unless they have been identified as an emergency responder or utility worker from companies with which you do business.
By being prepared, everyone can stay as safe as possible and maintain the resilience that allows normal life to resume soon as soon as possible.
Hi Ben, great article! A question came to mind with respect to American Water’s dedication to customer service and managing issues that arise. How do they call out to these crews? How are the resources mobilized and directed? Do you feel that there is a need to make this step more automated? Thanks!