Tips to stay safe and warm in a winter storm
When snow and ice arrive, most people are stuck at home, trying to stay warm and safe. If the power goes out, those goals become much more complicated.
The nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) offers the following tips for residents to stay safe and comfortable if the power were to be interrupted:
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- 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.
- Do not use candles as they pose a fire hazard. Always keep a supply of flashlights, batteries and a battery-powered radio on hand.
- Resist the temptation to call 9-1-1 for information–that's what your battery-powered radio is for.
- Wear many layers and use blankets to keep warm while the power is out.
- If you have a generator, remember do not run it inside a home or garage. Use gas-powered generators only in well-ventilated areas.
- Connect only individual appliances to portable generators.
- 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.
When Power Returns
- 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.
- When power is restored, wait a few minutes before turning on major appliances to help eliminate further problems caused by a sharp increase in demand.