Keeping the power on in extreme heat

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Appalachian Power said the electric grid is fully prepared for any additional strain this weekend's extreme heat might put on it. That doesn't mean there won't be an outage with lots of people cranking up the air conditioning.

Air conditioning units hard at work to keep people cool during the heat wave.

"A power outage would be a major issue in terms of keeping people cool," Kanawha-Charleston Health Department executive director Sherri Young said. "I'm sure there are backup plans in place in case we would have public areas that are not accessible. As far as the biggest threat, being outside in the heat."

Appalachian Power said there's nothing specifically they can do to get ready for the heat as the grid is already built to withstand an additional strain. It said the electric grid is actually more stressed in the winter when people are heating their houses then in the summer when people are using the air conditioner.

"We've been working with our friends at Appalachian Power, and they have been awesome to work with," Charleston Emergency Management director Mark Strickland said. "Right now the grid is up and working fine, they're doing a good job of that and keeping us informed. Should that instance occur, we would address the communities involved, what populations are in that area and what we can do to establish relief."

Appalachian Power said a brown out is not completely out of the picture, so crews are on standby to get the power turned back on as quickly as possible in the event of an outage.

"During a power outage there is no relief," Kanawha County Ambulance chief of operations Wayne Harmon said. "You can't go indoors, all the buildings start heating up and there is just no relief outside of a shade tree. Hopefully the wind will stay like it is today throughout the weekend."