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Power companies call in extra help for impending storm

Disaster relief housing trailers are set up outside of the Mall of Georgia that will be used for Georgia Power employees and contractors. (Photo: Foster Peters)

Disaster relief housing trailers are set up outside of the Mall of Georgia that will be used for Georgia Power employees and contractors. (Photo: Foster Peters)

SAFETY TIPS

If you lose electric service, Georgia Power offers the following safety tips:

— Non-electric, unvented space heaters can be a hazard. Use them only in well-ventilated areas.

— Cook with a camp stove, fireplace or can of Sterno (cooking fuel). Never use charcoal or other fuels in unventilated areas.

— If you use an electric generator, plug appliances directly into it. Never plug a generator directly into your home’s electrical wiring.

— Disconnect or turn off appliances you were using when the power went off. Leave one light on to tell you when service is restored.

— Avoid opening refrigerators or freezers. Food will stay frozen in a fully loaded freezer for 36 to 48 hours if the door is closed. In a half-full freezer, food will keep 24 hours.

— Follow a storm’s progress by monitoring a weather radio. Prepare for a possible power outage.

— Stock up on non-perishable foods, heating fuel and medications.

— Fill your bathtub and spare containers with water in case your electric water pump or the local water system goes out.

— Have a flashlight, a battery-powered radio and fresh batteries handy.

— Prepare older family members, friends or neighbors who live alone for the weather.

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Nearly 50 power trucks from states such as Alabama, North Carolina and Indiana amass at a staging area at the Atlanta Motor Speedway Tuesday afternoon. (Photo by Rachel Shirey)

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Aside from about 30 disaster relief housing trailers are three shower trailers that will be used for Georgia Power employees and contractors. (Photo: Foster Peters)

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Disaster relief housing trailers are set up outside of the Mall of Georgia that will be used for Georgia Power employees and contractors. (Photo: Foster Peters)

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The inside of a disaster relief housing trailer which is set up outside of the Mall of Georgia that will be used for Georgia Power employees and contractors. (Photo: Foster Peters)

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Disaster relief housing trailers are set up outside of the Mall of Georgia that will be used for Georgia Power employees and contractors. (Photo: Foster Peters)

Companies that provide power to Gwinnett residents have brought in additional personnel to deal with any potential problems caused by the impending winter storm.

The Jackson Electric Membership Corporation activated its Emergency Restoration Plan, and called in 21 additional contractor crews from south Georgia, Missouri and Florida to pair with 23 existing contractor crews. Georgia Power has brought in 2,500 to 3,000 additional personnel from Florida, Mississippi and Texas, along with 4,000 to 5,000 of its own employees who have relocated.

“They have been shifted to the areas where we, based on weather forecast, anticipate the storm to hit,” Georgia Power spokeswoman Carol Boatright said.

Jackson EMC vice president of engineering and operations Jim Smith said the National Weather Service advised him that accumulation could be six-tenths of an inch of ice from sleet and freezing rain on Wednesday, with sustained winds of 15-20 mph and gusts of 25-30 mph.

“Combined, that will create a threat of downed power lines, as well as downed trees and tree limbs that fall on power lines,” he said. “We’ll be watching closely as this situation develops … and will begin responding to outages as soon as they’re reported.”

On occasion, Georgia Power establishes disaster relief trailers for workers and those assisting workers with cots to rest on and food to eat, and then go back to work, Boatright said. About 30 of those trailers are at the Mall of Georgia along with several shower trailers, a tent and several port-a-potties.

“We have vendors that will move with us that will provide food for the crews,” she said.

Boatright also cautioned residents to stay away from downed power lines because there’s no way to tell if they’re live or energized.

In the event of an outage, Jackson EMC customers can report outages from their PC or mobile device at the cooperative’s website, www.jacksonemc.com, or by calling 1-855-422-7600, and can track outages on the cooperative’s web site.

Georgia Power customers can report an outage at 1-888-891-0938 and can also track outages at www.georgiapower.com.

Georgia Power also offers customers the ability to signup for outage alerts and be contacted by phone, email or text message at www.georgiapower.com.