SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Dec. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Just before the official start of winter, a winter storm has fallen on the Pacific Northwest and swept across mountain and plain states. Called winter storm Draco by the Weather Channel, the storm has brought high winds up to 80 miles an hour, ice, hail, and up to a foot of snow in some areas of the country. Along with these weather conditions comes the chance of power outages and hazards that can remain after the storm is gone. Safe Electricity reminds everyone that it is important to know what to do to keep everyone safe and warm.
"Strong winds, heavy snow, and accumulating ice can bring down power lines, cutting off power to homes and businesses," explains Molly Hall, executive director of the Safe Electricity program. "This winter storm already caused damage to property and power outages for so many people."
Safe Electricity encourages you to brush up on your knowledge of storm safety. The following tips will help keep you warm and safe during and after the storm:
- If you have lost power, contact your provider as soon as you are able so that they are aware of your outage.
- Stay indoors if possible, and use caution when venturing outside. Remember, downed power lines could be hidden under limbs and debris, and there is no way to tell if a line is energized. If you see downed or sagging power lines, or other damaged electrical equipment, stay far away. Notify authorities as soon as possible.
- Avoid travel whenever possible. Winter conditions make driving dangerous and outages may affect traffic signals and other safety equipment. Pay attention to local news stations and weather conditions to get information on potential travel times and cancelled events.
- 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.
- When the power goes out, switch off lights and appliances to prevent overloading circuits and damaging appliances when power is restored. Leave one lamp or switch on as a signal for when your power returns.
- Dress warmly, and use blankets.
- Close off unused rooms.
- Cover windows at night.
- Place a rolled-up rug or heavy towel in front of the bottom of doors to minimize any cold drafts from entering the house.
- When using an alternative heat source, follow operating instructions, use fire safeguards, and be sure to properly ventilate. Always keep a multipurpose, dry-chemical fire extinguisher nearby and know how to use it.
- Check on neighbors and loved ones to make sure they are safe and warm.
- Keep a close eye on the temperature in your home. Infants and people over the age of 65 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.
"The first step in dealing with winter storms is preparation," says Hall. "Being prepared for a potential power outage can make riding out a prolonged outage safer and more comfortable. Before the next storm comes through, make sure to update and replenish your emergency preparedness kit with items such as water, nonperishable food, blankets, medications, a first-aid kit, flashlights, and batteries."
Stay safe and warm this holiday season. For more information on electrical safety, visit SafeElectricity.org.
Contact: Kyla Kruse, 217-546-6421, firstname.lastname@example.org
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SOURCE Safe Electricity