Monsoon Safety

The monsoon season typically begins in early July. The storms’ heavy rains, high winds and lightning can snap utility poles and power lines.   Because the weather in metropolitan Tucson is so stable for much of the year, summer storms can take people by surprise. Below is a list of safety tips and suggestions to help you and your family deal with the wind, rain and lightning that can result from a storm.  

  • Stay calm. Refer to your preparedness plan, if you have one.
  • Radio updates: If you have a battery-powered radio, tune in for news updates about the storm.
  • Appliances: Turn off all major appliances, including your computer, air conditioner, TV and other media equipment and dishwasher. This will help TEP restore power more quickly while protecting your equipment from voltage fluctuations and circuit overloads when power returns.
  • Lights: Turn off all lights except one to indicate when the power has been restored. When power is restored, wait a few minutes before turning on lights and appliances — turn them on one at a time.
  • Circuit breakers: Reset circuit breakers to see if the problem is a short-circuit in your home’s electrical system. If other homes in your neighborhood are dark, the problem is likely a power outage. Check for “blown” fuses or make sure your circuit breakers are in the “on” position. Also check the main breaker; turn off and then turn on to reset the main breaker.
  • Doors and windows: Avoid opening entry doors, to keep cool air inside and warmer air outside.
  • Neighbors: Check on your neighbors, especially elderly and/or disabled persons.
  • Pets: During a storm, pets can become frightened and may try to escape through an open door or window. Therefore, it is best to confine them in a room until the storm passes.
  • Refrigerator and freezer: Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed to conserve the cool air inside. During an extended power outage, use perishable food and foods from the refrigerator first. Then use the foods from the freezer. Use non-perishable foods last
  • Electricity from lightning can travel through the wires in your home and damage important home office equipment. If you experience a complete or partial power outage during a monsoon, take the following steps:

    • During a storm, it’s best to unplug any equipment that does not need to be on, including telephones and cable television cables, but especially the air conditioner or heat pump, computers and copy machines. This will protect the machines from voltage fluctuations and help avoid circuit overloads when the power returns.
    • Make sure your office equipment is properly grounded. Power disturbances can affect computers and other microprocessor-based equipment that depend on a constant voltage supply. An improper ground can cause your equipment to malfunction or fail.
    • Be sure to wait at least one minute after the power has been restored before turning the equipment back on.