Winter storms can cause
prolonged power outages by
weighing power lines down
with ice, causing trees to fall into
lines, or creating hazardous road
conditions resulting in vehicle
accidents with power poles. To safety
weather a winter outage, you need to
prepare and know what to do when a
When the lights go out, you should
first contact your utility company to
inform them of the outage. Once they
are aware of an outage, they will
immediately begin the assessment
and restoration process. How long it
takes to get your power restored
depends on the extent off the storm's
destruction, the number of outages,
and when it becomes safe for utility
personnel to get to the affected areas.
Until the power comes back on, do all
you can to keep your family
A storm preparedness kit can help
you do this. The kit will need to be assembled ahead of time and should
include such items as: bottled water,
non-perishable food, blankets, warm
clothing, first aid kit/medicine,
flashlight, radio, extra batteries, and
Monitor the temperature in your
home. Infants and elderly people are
more susceptible to the cold. You may
want to stay with friends or relatives
or go to a shelter if you cannot keep
your home warm.
There are many ways to stay warm
during a winter power outage. First,
dress warm and cover up in layers of
blankets. Next, remember to close off
unneeded rooms and place draft
blocks at the bottom of doors to
minimize cold air entering the house.
Cover the windows at night to keep
the cold air out. Finally, avoid going
outside. Opening doors will let cold
air in and going outside will make
you more vulnerable to the cold.
If you are using an alternative
heating source, be sure to know how
to use it safely and that you have all
supplies gathered for it. Follow
operating instructions, use fire
safeguards, and properly ventilate.
Always keep a multipurpose, dry chemical
fire extinguisher nearby
and know how to use it.
Use caution when using a portable
generator. These should never be
operated indoors because they omit
deadly carbon monoxide.
Additionally, never plug it into a wall
outlet. This is an important
precaution in preventing potentially
deadly backfeed, which occurs when
electricity travels from the generator
back through the power lines.
Take steps to protect your circuits
and appliances before power is
restored by switching off lights and
unplugging everything. Leave one
light switched on as a quick
reminder that the power is restored.