First Energy prepared for windy weekend

Akron - Northern Ohio is expected to get heavy winds as part of the major storm system that is wreaking havoc over parts of the country, and First Energy has issued a statement to help residents prepare for possible power outages.

“We are prepared for a potentially challenging weather weekend for us, systemwide,” said Sam Belcher, president of FirstEnergy Utilities. “In much of our six-state service area, the already wet ground could be saturated with heavy rains Saturday followed by high winds Sunday into Monday, a combination that can cause trees to be uprooted. Also, the heavy winds have the potential to make it unsafe for our workers to use bucket trucks or ladders to do overhead repair work, which could delay power restoration efforts.”

Any First Energy customer who loses power should call 1-888-LIGHTSS to report their outage or click the “Report Outage” link on

The company also urges customers to report any downed power lines to the utility, or to local fire or police, and keep away from those lines.

Here are some other tips in case your electricity goes out:

• Keep electronic devices such as cell phones, laptops and tablet computers fully charged to be ready for any emergencies.

• Keep a flashlight, portable radio and extra batteries handy. Tune to a local station for current storm information.

• Never use a portable generator inside the house or a closed garage. Ensure the proper generator is selected and installed by a qualified electrician. When operating a generator, the power coming into the home should always be disconnected. Otherwise, power from the generator could be sent back onto the utility lines, creating a hazard for utility workers.

• Gather extra blankets or a sleeping bag for each person. Do not use gas stoves, kerosene heaters or other open-flame heat sources indoors, as they could release deadly carbon monoxide gas into your home.

• If you have a water well and pump, keep an emergency supply of bottled water and/or fill your bathtub with fresh water.

• Stock an emergency supply of convenience foods that do not require cooking.

• Mobile phones can be charged in your vehicle when the power is out. This will ensure you have access to online information sources.

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