Preparing: Before and During an Outage

Keep lines open for all members affected by the outage. We know that being without power is inconvenient and frustrating, and we assure you that one call is all you need to make. FEC will work around the clock, if necessary, to restore your service as quickly as possible.

While the electricity is off, keep the refrigerator and freezer closed. Food can keep for at least 24 hours in these appliances. If the outage should ever last longer than that, arrange to store your food at another location. Unplug any major appliances (TV, microwave, etc.) to make sure there isn’t any damage when the power is restored.

Safety First

Never, ever touch or go near a downed power line.

  • Power lines are not insulated like power cords.
  • Always assume the power line is live.
  • Don’t touch a fallen power line or anything touching the wire.
  • Do not touch anything or anyone in contact with a fallen power line or other equipment.
  • Never try to remove a tree from a power line. Wait for a professional.

Be Prepared

As hard as we work to keep power reliable, storms and power outages are a reality of living in Northwest Montana. Having a back-up plan in place in case of a prolonged power outage should also be a reality for those of us who live here. While FEC understands the sense of urgency experienced during an outage, it’s not always feasible for crews to respond immediately to every area impacted, so please be prepared. Consider the following questions:

  • Do you need a generator?
  • Do you have extra water?
  • Do you have flashlights and batteries?
  • Do you have a backup heat source?
  • Do you have a plan to keep pipes from freezing during winter outages and food from spoiling during summer outages?
  • Do you have provisions for the needs of your animals?
  • Do you have problem trees near power lines that need removed?
  • Do you have alternative provisions if you rely on electricity for medical purposes?

Standby Generators

We understand the convenience of having a backup system. Having a standby generator can save you, your family or your facility, from having to experience occasional power outages from increment weather and it offers a certain sense of extra security.  However, if installed improperly, your standby generator, even small portable generators, can threaten your safety and the safety of your cooperative and our lineman working on the electrical system. Visit standby generator procedures for information on safe installation procedures.

Life Support Equipment

If someone in your home is dependent on life-support equipment, do not wait until an outage to notify us– CALL US NOW – at 406-751-4483 . We will do our best to give these residences priority when services are reconnected. Power outages are a reality, and can be prolonged depending on the situation, so if you must have power, the Co-op suggests that you have a stand-by generator available as a precautionary measure (follow safe standby generator procedures).

During a power outage

  • Keep freezers and refrigerators closed.
  • Only use generators outdoors and away from windows.
  • Do not use a gas stove to heat your home.
  • Disconnect appliances and electronics to avoid damage from electrical surges.
  • Have alternate plans for refrigerating medicines or using power-dependent medical devices.
  • If safe, go to an alternate location for heat or cooling.
  • Check on neighbors.

For more tips, visit the Department of Homeland Security or the American Red Cross.