TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Southwestern Electric Power Co. crews say they are ready to respond should the severe storms forecast Friday for portions of Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas cause power outages.

When storms and high winds damage the electric grid, SWEPCO crews work to restore power. Once the storm passes, field personnel will begin assessing damage to the power grid and clearing downed power lines and other hazards.

SWEPCO urges the public to stay away from all downed lines and treat them as dangerous and energized. Stay away, keep others away and report hazards by calling 1-888-218-3919.

Follow these five simple tips courtesy of SWEPCO to help keep you safe, prepared and connected in the event of severe weather:

Plan Ahead

Develop an emergency plan for you and your family. Be sure to contact family, friends, neighbors with young children, the elderly or people with medical conditions to ensure they also have a plan.

Make an emergency outage kit

Get ahead of storms by putting together an emergency preparedness kit that includes non-perishable food, water, flashlights, batteries, a portable cell phone charging bank, a blanket or sleeping bag, a first aid kit and any necessary medications.

Stay away from downed lines

Remember, all downed lines are dangerous — they can carry an electric current that can cause serious or even fatal injuries. If you see a fallen wire, stay away and keep others away, including children and pets. Call SWEPCO at 1-888-218-3919 or 911 immediately.

Remember, safety first

If the power goes out, always use caution when using lanterns, heaters, generators, fuel-fired stoves or burning charcoal. Proper ventilation is necessary to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and fires.

Stay in the know

It’s easy to stay connected. Report outages and check restoration status by:
• Downloading the SWEPCO mobile app: SWEPCO.com/App
• Signing up to get SWEPCO alerts: SWEPCO.com/Alerts
• Following SWEPCO on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for updates.

If you use a portable or RV generator, do not plug the generator into your home’s main electrical panel. This can “back-feed” electricity into outside utility lines, creating the danger of electrocution for repair crews and the public. Instead, read the manufacturer’s instructions and only plug essential appliances directly into the generator.