Be Ready When Mother Nature Strikes: Use these tips and lists to help keep you and your family safe
Hundreds of Americans are injured or killed in the winter months due to car accidents on slippery roads and in home fires caused by improper use of heaters. In addition, winter storms create a higher risk of hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and heart attacks due to overexertion.
Because wintertime brings its own set of challenges to staying safe, Safe Electricity reminds you prepare for extreme weather and to stay home during storms and their aftermath whenever possible.
Do all you can to prepare ahead of time for massive snowfall, blizzards or ice storms that could last for days at a time. Tune in to local radio or TV stations for the latest winter storm updates. In addition, use your cell phone to keep you informed by signing up for weather alerts. Make sure you have a portable charger and extra batteries on hand. You might also want to have a battery-operated radio available (with extra batteries) as yet another way to listen for updates or instructions.
In preparing for a storm, be sure to:
- Consider special needs or medical issues in your household; have an ample supply of all medications.
- Have a supply of non-perishable food, as well as plenty of drinking water and a first-aid kit.
- Prepare for weather events year round by keeping a checklist of items to have on hand. Have as many of these essentials at the ready and in one place in case a storm event happens without much warning.
- As the winter months approach, prepare your home with proper insulation, caulking and weather stripping. Learn how to keep pipes from freezing. Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with battery backups and test them to make sure they work.
Stay home during snow and ice storms and wait until roads are passable. This may sound obvious but some people think whatever they had planned is too important to miss. Whatever the commitment, it’s not worth getting into an accident or finding yourself stranded.
If you do travel and drive into extreme conditions, do not leave your car to look for help. Your car should also be equipped with several items during colder months, such as a first-aid kit, portable car charger and batteries, blankets, water, snack food, a windshield scraper, extra hats, coats and mittens or gloves; tire chains; canned and compressed air with sealant for emergency tire repair; booster cables; emergency flares; and road salt and sand for traction.
If you’re at home and the power goes out, please know we will restore power as efficiently as possible without compromising safety. Do not turn on the stove for heat; it is not safe. Instead, use blankets, sleeping bags and warm winter coats. You can also use an up-to-code fireplace or portable heaters when used correctly.
When it comes to portable heaters, follow all instructions for use and do not:
- Place any clothing on or near a portable heater
- Put a portable heater up on the counter or other surface
- Leave it unattended
- Place on rugs or near papers or anything else that could ignite; make sure there is 3 feet of unobstructed area
When using a portable generator for power, never use it indoors and make sure it is not close to any windows, doorways or air-intake vents. Do not use it in an attached garage, even with the doors up. Never touch it with wet hands or use in areas with rain, snow, or standing water.
For additional safety tips, go to SafeElectricity.org.
Safe Electricity link: https://safeelectricity.org/