During a Storm

Severe Weather Safety Tips

Strong storms often cause hazardous conditions. Protect yourself and your family.

Electric Safety

  • Consider all downed power lines "live" - which means they carry electrical current. Stay at least 300 feet away and immediately call PSEG Long Island at 1-800-490-0075 or 911 to report downed wires.
  • Don't try to cut or remove trees that are or could become entangled in power lines. A professional tree removal crew will take care of it.
  • If you lose power, turn off electric equipment to protect them from power surges caused by restoration. Equipment might include: air conditioners, refrigerators, freezers, televisions, microwaves, and computers.
  • Keep one light switch on so you know when the power is restored.

Food and Heat Safety

  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed.

    Unopened refrigerators preserve food for several hours. Half-full freezers hold food safely up to 24 hours. Full freezers preserve food safely between 36 and 48 hours. If you're using a generator, monitor the refrigerator temperature, which should be kept at 40° or below. It doesn't need to run 24/7 to maintain that temperature.

  • Don't use a gas stove to heat your home. Gas stoves can generate dangerous levels of carbon monoxide and pose a fire hazard if left untended.

Generator Safety

  • If you're running a generator or other fuel-powered machine, keep it outside. Carbon monoxide (CO) fumes are odorless and undetectable. A generator operated inside can lead to unconsciousness or death. Consider installing carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home to help detect these fumes.
  • Never connect generators to other power sources like power lines. Utility workers who don't know that a generator is connected are in danger of electrocution.
  • Use your generator for emergency standby power only - and just for short periods of time. When it's time to refuel, turn it off and let it cool down first.

Outdoor Safety

  • If you must go outside during the storm, wear thick-soled shoes and watch your step. Flood waters can carry debris like broken glass and nails.
  • If you must drive during severe weather, use extra caution at intersections and railroad crossings. Power outages also affect traffic signals.
  • If you're in a car and an electric wire falls on it, stay inside the car, call 911 for assistance, and wait for the professionals to arrive. First responders (police, fire, OEM, EMS) should not touch the car until PSEG Long Island arrives to de-energize the power line.

Need Immediate Help?

The American Red Cross offers food and water, shelter, and other services to people affected by disasters. Call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or apply for disaster assistance at the federal government's Disaster Assistance website.