Crippling ice, sleet and heavy snow affecting residents today. Power outages are a major concern for the area and have already impacted thousands. The icy conditions have also made driving extremely dangerous. The nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) offers the following tips to stay safe and warm.
Power Outage Safety Tips
1. If you lose power, close doors and seal them with towels to keep the warm air in.
2. Put on layers of warm clothing. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors.
3. If you use a gas heater or fireplace to stay warm, be sure the area is properly ventilated.
4. Avoid opening the fridge or freezer. Food should be safe as long as the outage lasts no more than four hours.
5. Turn off all lights but one, to alert you when power resumes.
6. Be sure to use flashlights and not candles.
7. If you have a generator, do not run a generator inside a home or garage. Use gas-powered generators only in well-ventilated areas.
8. Connect only individual appliances to portable generators.
9. Don’t plug emergency generators into electric outlets or hook them directly to your home’s electrical system – as they can feed electricity back into the power lines, putting you and line workers in danger.
10. Check on elderly neighbors, friends, or relatives who may need assistance if weather is severe during the outage.
11. When power comes back on, it may come back with momentary “surges” or “spikes” that can damage equipment such as computers and motors in appliances like the air conditioner, refrigerator, washer or furnace.
Car Safety Tips
Residents should stay at home and off the roads, but if you have to be on the road for an emergency FLASH recommends the following car safety tips.
12. Take a car emergency kit with you. Be sure to include blankets, food and water, flashlights and batteries and a distress flag.
13. Check your tires for air and wear. Be sure to keep tow and tire chains in your trunk as well.
14. If visibility is impaired, pull off the highway. Turn on hazard lights and hang a distress flag from the radio antenna or window.
15. If stranded, run the engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm. When the engine is running, open a downwind window slightly for ventilation and periodically clear snow from the exhaust pipe. This will protect you from possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
16. Remain in your vehicle where rescuers are most likely to find you. Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you know you can take shelter. Be careful; distances are distorted by blowing snow. A building may seem close but be too far to walk to in deep snow.
17. Be careful not to waste battery power. Balance electrical energy needs - the use of lights, heat, and radio - with supply.
18. In extreme cold, use road maps, seat covers, and floor mats for insulation. Huddle with passengers and use your coat for a blanket.