SLEMCO officials offer tips for residents now to get ready for Laura.
Mary Laurent, communications coordinator for SLEMCO, said residents need to be making decisions now.
"Right now people ought to be making their final plans on what they're going to do, where they're going to go," she said. "It looks like it's going to be a severe hit if Laura comes to our area. They need to be making arrangements, particularly during a pandemic, to figure out where they're going to go, so they can be safe when they do it."
At home, make sure your freezer is on the highest setting now, and make sure it is packed tightly. Filling water bottles or jugs with water to pack them tightly will help the food there stay frozen longer, she said. And once the power is out, don't open the freezer.
The storm could be a cross between Lili and Rita, so it could be severe, she said. Walk through your home and take pictures of everything in your home, document serial numbers, etc., to make it easier to make a claim after the storm passes, she said.
Generator is really critical for customers and for workers, she said. If you have a stand-by generator, make sure all the appliances are plugged directly into that generator. Do not try to run an entire home on a portable generator, because it could be dangerous for line workers.
Don't put a generator anywhere that could vent carbon monoxide into the home, she said. If power is out for several days, it is critical that generators be operated safely, she said.
Crews from out of state are on stand-by to help, she said. After the storm comes through, crews work first to get the power plant up and running, then the transmission lines, then the main feeders. From there, crews work on the lines that go down individual streets, she explained.
If you get your power back on when the main feeders come on, you're good. But if you don't you will need to make decisions about where you're going to stay, Laurent said.
"If you're in an area that's hit very hard, you may be out for an extended period of time, or you might be back on right away. We don't know, so you have to be prepared to be without power for several days," Laurent said.
COVID of course, is always an issue. So if you see a linesman, please don't approach him to talk, she said. All the linesmen are highly trained and they can't be replaced easily, and they need to be protected from COVID, she said.
To keep up with outages, check out the SLEMCO website or Facebook page, she said.