Be prepared for summer storms

Staff reports

Summer can bring extreme heat and storms, often accompanied by lightning. To help its customers and neighbors be prepared for severe summer weather, Otter Tail Power Company has posted an animated safety message on its web site, When users click on the message, they’ll be directed to the Be prepared for summer storms page on the web site for more information and a few brief videos. The web site also directs users to Twitter, where they can sign up to receive information from Otter Tail Power Company during significant outages.

 Otter Tail Power Company’s Safety Services Department advises residents and visitors to the area to keep ahead of storms by listening to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio and by checking, commercial radio, and television for the latest heat advisories, storm watches (prepare for severe weather conditions), and storm warnings (severe weather conditions have begun or are about to begin).

Heat is dangerous when it pushes the human body beyond its ability to produce perspiration, which evaporates to cool the body. In extreme heat and high humidity, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature. Most heat disorders occur because the victim has been overexposed to heat or has overexercised for his or her age and physical condition. Remember to take breaks, preferably in air-conditioned spaces, during periods of excessive heat.

Otter Tail Power Company’s Safety Services Department also urges you to be prepared for storms and be safe.

• Take shelter in a sturdy building if a thunderstorm catches you outdoors.

• Stay away from doors and windows.

• Use only wireless phones during a thunderstorm.

• Don’t use the shower or bathtub.

• Unplug sensitive electronic appliances such as computers, TVs, VCR and DVD players, etc.

• If your electrical service is disrupted and you use a backup generator, make sure it’s properly wired to prevent feedback when service is restored.

• Prepare an emergency storm kit that includes:

- Flashlight and extra batteries.

- Battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio and portable radio to receive emergency information.

- Food requiring no cooking or refrigeration.

- Extra medicine and baby and pet items as appropriate.

- First-aid supplies.

• Call 911 if you notice a fallen or low-hanging power line.

Otter Tail Power Company, a subsidiary of Otter Tail Corporation, is headquartered in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. It provides electricity and energy services to nearly a quarter million people in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. To learn more visit Otter Tail Power Company’s web site at