Friday, January 2, 2015

Be ready for severe cold weather

Our energy distribution systems are built to withstand severe cold, but equipment problems, wildlife damage, high winds, accidents and other causes can knock out power at any time of the year. As always, be prepared to stay safe -- especially during severe cold.

Preparing for power outages
Add our numbers to your cell phone:
  • Power outage or electrical emergency: 800-662-4797
  • Natural gas leak, odor or emergency: 800-261-5325
Assemble an emergency kit and put it where it’s easy to find in the dark. Suggested items:
  • Flashlights, extra batteries
  • Blankets
  • Bottled water — half gallon a day per person
  • Battery-operated radio, extra batteries
  • Canned/dried food, hand-operated can opener
  • First-aid kit
  • Prescription medications
  • Special items for infants, seniors or disabled family members
Other considerations:
  • Check on others, especially seniors or anyone with medical conditions
  • Keep pets safe
  • Keep electronic devices, especially cell phones, charged
  • Find out where area emergency shelters are located if you need to leave your home

Coping with power outages
  • Report and get updates on your outage by calling 800-662-4797
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible
  • Use manual operation of garage door
  • Dress in layers to stay warm.
  • Use battery-operated lights rather than candles
  • Unplug or turn off appliances to avoid overloading when power is restored
  • Leave a single light on to alert you when power is restored
  • If you are the only home without power, check your breakers or fuses
  • Close blinds or drapes and avoid opening doors to retain heat
  • Use a generator safely to power your furnace
  • Use a properly vented fireplace or wood-burning stove, if you have one
  • Do not use outdoor grills, kerosene heaters or camping heaters
  • Go to safe shelter if your home becomes extremely cold

Ensuring meter safety
Keeping meters clear of snow and ice allows for safer operation for you and access for us to service meters in case of emergency. If snow piles up, remember these tips:
  • Keep meters clear of snow and ice 
  • Use a brush to gently remove snow from meters
  • Be careful not to bury a meter when using a snow thrower or shovel
  • Remove icicles that may drip water on a natural gas meter and interfere with flow 

Avoiding downed power lines
Winter storms, extremely cold temperatures and snow can damage power lines. Downed power lines may still have electricity running through them. There’s no way to tell if they don’t. Many people think a power line will jump, spark or hum on the ground if it is energized. Downed power lines may appear motionless and harmless, but often are silent and deadly.

Responding to natural gas leaks and outages
Natural gas outages are rare; however, equipment failures, digging damage, natural disasters and other causes can disrupt service at any time. Damaged meters and corroded appliance connectors can cause leaks, so we add a foul odor to help detection. If you smell the odor:
  • Leave immediately – do not turn on light switches or use phone
  • Call us at 800-261-5325 from another location

Additional winter weather safety resources
American Red Cross
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

No comments: