Published on: Friday, May 1, 2015 Takoma Park Newsletter

Prepare for summer storm season

Were you in Washington, D.C. or College Park area in early April when the power went out at the White House, the Capitol, 13 metro stations, the Smithsonian, the University of Maryland campus and surrounding areas? How did you manage? Was your cell phone working to call family or were you underground at a Metro station without power? Were you in College Park wandering around trying to do without street-crossing lights?

Although the April power outage was caused by the failure of a transmission conductor in Charles County, Md. it’s a good warning for what may happen in Takoma Park in the summer due to storms or generator problems. So—what can you do?

Long-term outage, continuing storms

The following will ensure you’re ready if the power goes out for days:

  • Have a plan to stay in touch with your family and a meeting place if you get separated.
  • Make a basic emergency kit: 1 gallon of water per person per day; food for three days per person; flashlight and batteries; and a battery-operated radio to stay informed.
  • Schedule a block or building preparedness meeting with our City Emergency Preparedness manager Ron Hardy (
  • Go to or www.redcross. org to learn more on preparedness.

Short term outage

  • Consider this an ‘indoor camping’ experience – without having to put up the tent! Make sure you have the following on hand:
  • A lantern with a large battery (periodically check this to make sure the battery is OK)
  • Several flashlights close at hand (near the bed, the desk, and downstairs) that you can easily retrieve when the power goes out
  • Working batteries that fit each item (try using masking tape to mark when they were bought)
  • Phone numbers for contacts that are easily accessible
  • Alternative phone options, such as a non-cell phone or car charger (be careful going down the stairs to get to the car!)
  • Easy access to medications that must be taken in evenings (take the flashlight or lantern);
  • Bottled water

This article appeared in the May 2015 edition of the Takoma Park Newsletter. The Takoma Park Newsletter is available for download here.