With Snow On The Way, Safety Tips Offered

February 27, 2014
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Southeast Indiana could potentially be affected by another wave of snow, sleet and freezing rain this weekend. This wintry mix could cause power outages and dangerous road conditions, conditions that many residents have already experienced this winter. The nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) offers the following tips for residents to prepare for potential power outages and possibly more dangerous roads.

Power Outage Tips

  • Stock up on a supply of flashlights, batteries and be sure to have a battery-powered radio on hand. Do not use candles as they pose a fire hazard.
  • Fill your car fuel tank at least half-full, gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.
  • Keep extra cash on hand since an extended power outage may prevent you from withdrawing money from automatic teller machines or banks.
  • If you have a generator, remember do not run it inside a home or garage. Use gas-powered generators only in well-ventilated areas.
  • 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.
  • If you lose power, close doors and seal them with towels to keep the warm air in.
  • Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. Avoid opening the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Unplug or disconnect any electrical devices that were in use when the power went out. Turn off all lights but one, to alert you when power resumes.
  • Check on elderly neighbors, friends or relatives who may need assistance during the outage.
  • Resist the temptation to call 9-1-1 for information–that’s what your battery-powered radio is for.
  • 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. Wait a few minutes before turning on major appliances to help eliminate further problems caused by a sharp increase in demand.

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.
  • Take a car emergency kit with you. Be sure to include blankets, food and water, flashlights and batteries and a distress flag.
  • Check your tires for air and wear. Be sure to keep tow and tire chains in your trunk as well.
  • 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.
  • Be careful not to waste battery power. Balance electrical energy needs – the use of lights, heat, and radio – with supply.
  • In extreme cold, use road maps, seat covers, and floor mats for insulation. Huddle with passengers and use your coat for a blanket.
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