2013-12-20 / Front Page

Post braces for Dec. 28 power outage

By Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Jo Bridgwater
Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office

Members of the Fort Gordon community who’ve been reading about the Dec. 28 power outage should be asking themselves a question, “Am I ready?”

According Pat Arthur, facility manager for the Directorate of Public Works, the installation will be without power for approximately seven hours starting at 9 a.m. and ending at approximately 4 p.m.

Though the majority of facilities on Fort Gordon will be closed there will be places open where service and family members may spend their time until the power is fully restored. The Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center auditorium will be open for movies and entertainment. In addition, the Bingo Palace will also be open.

“The most important thing residents of Fort Gordon should do is prepare for the outage,” said Arthur. “People that are mobile such as family members who live in post housing and permanent party folks should get in their car and go to the movies or the mall. Don’t sit around and be miserable.”

One preventive measure for the power outage is to unplug all electronic appliances to include computers and all items with accessible electric plugs.

“We have to do that even though we have surge protectors,” said Vince Pacchiana, Installation Emergency Management. “People should make sure they have flashlights and back-up batteries. That’s part of a basic emergency preparedness kit.”

“We’d like to stress to the command teams and representatives of Balfour Beatty Community, if you have a Soldier or family member that has special needs, such as the use of an oxygen supply, or something that deals with electricity, it needs to be identified and brought forward so we may assist with the development of a contingency plan,” said Pacchiana.

Fort Gordon officials recommend that military families who reside off the installation postpone visits to the post that day until after power is restored. They further recommend that residents of the installation plan now to reschedule holiday visits to their homes during the outage.

The following tips compiled by the office of Installation Emergency Management are provided to help keep you and your family healthy and safe during the power outage: How do I prepare for the outage?

• Surround your food with ice to keep food colder for a longer period of time. Temperature should not exceed 40 degrees. Residents should begin making/ bagging ice for critical cooler storage needs now (baby formula, breast milk, medicines, etc); no ice will be provided.

• A full refrigerator can safely preserve food for 4-6 hours and a full freezer for 48 hours.

• If someone in your home is dependent on electric- powered, lifesustaining equipment, have a backup power supply in your plan.

• Charge your cel l phones/portable electronic devices in advance of the outage

• Keep your car’s gas tank full.

• Residents who are going to be out of town should let the leasing office know, and if desired sign a waiver to allow Balfour Beatty Community to check your home. Contact BBC at 772-7041

• Turn off and unplug all computers and electrical/ electronic equipment. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment. What should I do during the power outage?

• Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed to keep your food as fresh as possible.

• Keep home doors shut to retain home heat.

• Do not run a generator or burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. Never use your gas oven as a source of heat.

• Consider going to a movie theater, shopping mall or “warming shelter” that may be open in your community. If you remain at home, put on layers of warm clothing.

• The Bingo Palace will be showing movies and selling snacks throughout the outage, in addition to afternoon

Bingo. It will be used as a warming facility on a first-come, first-serve basis. The DDEAMC auditorium, first floor, will be open with children’s movies throughout the day. The priority of seating is to personnel with family members who have special needs. What to do when the power comes back on?

• Verify heat and hot water has returned (allow time for hot water heater to heat the water in the storage tank).

• Restart electronic devices as desired.

• Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures higher than 40° F (4° C) for two hours or more, or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. When in doubt, throw it out!

• Never taste food or rely on appearance or odor to determine its safety. Some foods may look and smell fine, but if they have been at room temperature too long, bacteria causing food-borne illnesses can start growing quickly. Some types of bacteria produce toxins that cannot be destroyed by cooking.

• Call the BBC work order line at 772-9562, or (610) 864-8937, if heat doesn’t come on or water heater doesn’t relight or for power outages.

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