Be Prepared For Winter Storms

We enjoyed a very mild winter last year, with little snow and no ice storms. Are you willing to bet that we’ll have another easy winter this year?

If not, then you should be taking steps now to prepare for winter storms and possible extended electrical outages that might result. Heavy accumulations of ice and snow 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.

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.

  • Always keep a battery-powered radio or TV, flashlights and a supply of fresh batteries in case of an emergency. Test these ahead of time to make sure they are operational. 
  • Know where to find extra blankets.
  • Fill spare containers with water for washing, and keep a supply of bottled drinking water on hand.
  • Keep a supply of non-perishable food items, along with a hand opener for canned food.
  • Switch off lights and appliances to prevent damaging appliances and overloading circuits when power is restored. Leave one lamp or light switch on as a signal for when your power returns.
  • To prevent water pipes from freezing, keep faucets turned on slightly so that water drips from the tap. Know how to shut off water valves just in case a pipe bursts.
  • Check on elderly or disabled friends and neighbors.
  • Do not use charcoal grills or gas ovens to heat your home; this could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. 

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 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. For more information visit www.SafeElectricity.org.