Winter Storm Preparation Tips from FirstEnergy

This information, shared by FirstEnergy, explains what they are doing and what you can do during our winter storm season.

FirstEnergy has a team of in-house meteorologists who monitor for incoming winter storms. At the first hint of severe weather, they activate a storm response plan which often includes securing additional resources from their sister utilities and contractors so that they can deploy them to the hardest-hit areas, if necessary. They realize the impact of a winter storm remains unclear until it hits the region, and their utility workers are ready to roll if it does cause outages. In addition to having around-the-clock, all-hands-on-deck coverage during severe weather, FirstEnergy’s utilities in Ohio – including the Illuminating Company – have additional resources on standby to assist their line crews with any potential outages that might occur.

Their preparation for severe winter weather is ongoing throughout the year. They complete equipment upgrades, maintenance, inspections and tree-trimming work throughout the year to reinforce the electric system against severe weather and the extreme cold. Over the past year, their crews have completed tree-trimming work along miles of power lines across northeast Ohio. This work is crucial to keeping power lines clear of branches that can break or fall into lines from high winds and the weight of heavy snow and ice. Over the past few years, they’ve invested in a smart grid here in northeast Ohio. They’ve installed new automated technology across the service territory to prevent and limit the length of outages due to reasons out of their control, like winter storms. Despite their proactive efforts to minimize the damages caused by severe weather, outages can still occur. They encourage their customers to prepare, too:

  • Customers can subscribe to email and text message alert notifications to receive weather alerts in advance of major storms. They can also use two-way text messaging to report outages, request updates on restoration efforts, and make other inquiries about their electric accounts. More information about these communications tools is available online at
  • Check out their real-time outage page for the most up-to-date information on your outage, including causes, estimated restoration times and crew status.  
  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed to preserve food for as long as possible. Consider purchasing bags of ice and placing them inside to help save perishable food.
  • Consider keeping an emergency kit handy with items such as a flashlight, first-aid kit, extra batteries, bottled water, cell phone and car charger and a battery-powered radio.
  • Turn off or unplug sensitive electrical devices to safeguard them from power surges that may occur during the restoration process. Leave an incandescent light on so you know when the power comes back. 
  • NEVER OPERATE A GENERATOR INSIDE YOUR HOME. Exhaust from backup generators contain a high level of carbon monoxide (CO) gas, which can be dangerous or even fatal if inhaled.
  • Do not use candles around pets or small children and never leave burning candles unattended.
  • In the event of a power outage, customers should report it to us by calling 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) or clicking the “Report Outage” link on Customer reported outages help us pinpoint the damage locations, which can help speed restoration.

For more tips read Powering Through An Outage