|Winter Storm Preparedness|
|Library of Articles - Storm Preparation-Fall/Winter|
Heavy accumulations of ice and snow coupled with fluctuating winter temperatures can bring down utility poles, trees and limbs with the ability to disrupt power for days on end. With this comes a threat to property and also to life itself.
In a winter storm emergency, restoring power and heat to consumers is the highest priority, and electric utility crews work around the clock to restore service,¨ says Natalie Hemmer, member of the Safe Electricity team. Severe damage to power lines and distribution systems may take days to repair, especially if the icing conditions are ongoing.¨
Avoid going outside if possible. Downed power lines could be submerged in snow and ice and difficult to identify. When outside, treat all downed and hanging lines as if they are energized electric lines: Stay away, warn others to stay away and immediately contact your utility company. Remember that downed power lines do NOT have to be arcing, sparking or moving to be live and deadly.
Safe Electricity stresses the importance of being prepared for dangerous winter storms and the power outages they may cause. Preparing ahead of time in order to have the right supplies and the knowledge to stay warm safely are keys to weathering a winter storm emergency. Safe Electricity offers the following tips to winterize your home:
Safe Electricity emphasizes that everyone, particularly families with special needs, must be prepared in case of a winter emergency and long-term power outages.
Its a good idea to assemble a disaster supply kit that includes needed items ahead of time. Do not forget to include a first aid kit, prescription medications, and any special items needed for infant, elderly or disabled family members.
Maintaining warmth is a priority during a winter emergency. Loss of body heat or hypothermia can be life threatening. In order to avoid cold weather fatalities:
If you use a standby generator, make sure it has a transfer safety switch or that your power is cut off at the breaker box before you operate it. This prevents electricity from traveling back through the power lines, or what is also known as "back feed". Back feed creates danger for anyone near power lines, particularly crews working to restore power. Be sure to let your electric utility know that you have a generator.
Safe Electricity is committed to educating everyone on how to have a safe winter. Safe Electricity is an electrical safety public awareness program created and supported by a coalition of hundreds of organizations, including electric utilities, educators and other entities committed to promoting electrical safety.