Be ready when Mother Nature strikes
When Mother Nature strikes this winter, make sure you’re ready. 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 winter brings its own set of challenges, Safe Electricity reminds you to prepare for extreme weather and to stay home during and after storms whenever possible.
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 a cell phone to stay informed by signing up for weather alerts. Have a portable charger and extra batteries on hand. Also, have a battery-operated radio available (with extra batteries) to listen for updates.
In preparing for a storm, be sure to:
- Consider special needs or medical issues in your household; have a supply of 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 warning.
- As the winter months approach, prepare your home with proper insulation, caulking and weather stripping. Learn how to keep pipes from freezing. Install and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with battery backups.
Stay home during snow and ice storms and wait until roads are cleared. This may sound obvious, but some think whatever they had planned is too important to miss. Whatever the commitment, it’s not worth getting into an accident or getting stranded.
If you do drive in extreme conditions, do not leave your car to look for help. Your car should also be equipped with several items during cold months, such as a first-aid kit, portable car charger and batteries, blankets, water, snack food, a windshield scraper, extra warm clothing, tire chains, canned and compressed air with sealant for tire repair, booster cables, emergency flares, and road salt and sand for traction.
If you’re at home during an outage, please know we will restore power as fast as possible without compromising safety. Do not turn on the stove for heat. It’s not safe. Instead, use blankets, sleeping bags and warm 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:
- Don’t place clothing on or near a portable heater
- Don’t put a portable heater on the counter or other surface
- Don’t leave it unattended
- Don’t place on rugs, near paper or anything else that could ignite. Make sure there is 3 feet of unobstructed area
When using a portable generator, never use it indoors and make sure it is not close to 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.