UPDATE: Blackout postponed
Marion braces for overnight blackout
Marion residents who rely on oxygen concentrators, machines for sleep apnea, and lift chairs should prepare for a planned blackout next week.
Evergy will shut off power to 1,190 customers from 11 p.m. Nov. 16 through 5 a.m. Nov. 17.
Kaley Bohlen, communications manager for Evergy, said crews would “de-energize an aging transmission line and then re-energize a new line that will serve the area.”
Bohlen said Evergy communicated with city officials about the blackout. The city plans to send out an alert about the blackout Thursday and again Nov. 16 to subscribers of its CodeRed notification system, city clerk Tiffany Jeffrey said.
An electronic sign across from Central Park at Main and Elm Sts. also makes mention of the blackout.
“For all of our efforts, I am sure that there are persons that will be unaware of the situation,” city administrator Mark Skiles said. “Evergy has been very good to work with, but of course with an electrical outage there is no time that is going to be suitable for everyone.”
Skiles said he visited businesses to let owners know about the blackout.
“I was especially conscious of the hospital/nursing home and businesses with perishable items,” he said.
Police will have extra patrols during the blackout, he added.
People who need power can come to the city building, which has a generator, police chief Clinton Jeffrey said. Residents are asked to call (620) 382-3703 for assistance.
Past planned blackouts have not caused serious problems, Jeffrey said.
Peni Ens, director of Marion County Home Care, said people who rely on at-home medical equipment should prepare as much as possible.
“First of all, hopefully they know about the blackout,” she said.
People who use CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines for sleep apnea will be affected.
“It’s going to just go off,” Ens said. “There’s an alarm that probably sounds.”
People who are on oxygen full-time or at night should call the company that provides their equipment and request extra bottles of oxygen.
“The bottles go really quickly,” she said.
The agency is calling its patients who are on oxygen to make sure they’re aware of the blackout, Ens said.
People also need to remember that lift chairs won’t work during the blackout.
Keeping cell phones charged ahead of time will be important, Ens said.
“Keep it next to you while you are sleeping,” she said.
Restaurant owners are making plans.
“I just saw it on the sign when I came to work today,” said Sherry Hess, co-owner of Wagon Wheel Express.
The restaurant’s refrigerators and freezers are good for 24 hours, she said.
“Make tables” — smaller fridges that aren’t insulated — aren’t. Items stored in that equipment will need to be moved, she said.
Wagon Wheel’s fire suppression system will kick into battery mode, she said. The restaurant has generators.
Jay Smith, co-owner of Gambino’s Pizza, said the restaurant should be fine during the blackout.
“We’ve been alerted, and since it’s overnight, we think we’ll be OK,” he said.