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Be prepared if monsoon storms bring power outages, Phoenix officials say

Phoenix’s Office of Emergency Management works closely with utility providers so the city is prepared to respond quickly if monsoon season causes any power outages, according to officials.

But Commander Brian Lee, director of the office, said it is a good idea for individuals to  be prepared for unlikely power emergencies this time of year, too. 

“Where might you be able to go? Do you have access to immediate transportation if you needed to move yourself or have somebody come pick you up? If you’re going to be without power, do you have access to ice and coolers to be able to keep food items safe and secure?” Lee said. 

Phoenix’s monsoon season has been off to a slow start, but the National Weather Service projects slightly increased chances for storm activity over the next two weeks.

Here are ways to prepare your home, according to city officials:

  • Familiarize yourself with local emergency plans. Know where to go and how to get there should you need to get to higher ground, the highest level of a building, or to evacuate.
  • Clean out roof drains or scuppers to prevent accumulation of rain water on the roof.
  • Thin out trees and trim down overgrown vegetation.
  • Clean out drywells on your property so there is safe place for the water to collect.
  • Repair landscaping to ensure water will run away from your building.
  • Back up all data in case your computer or servers become damaged.
  • Look at installing generators or back up battery systems.
  • Bring in outdoor furniture and move important indoor items to the highest possible floor. This will help protect them from flood damage.
  • Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit. Include a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
  • Disconnect electrical appliances and don't touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. You could be electrocuted.
  • If instructed, turn off your gas and electricity at the main switch or valve. This helps prevent fires and explosions.

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Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent reporting on a variety of issues, including public health and climate change.