This year is already showing us how the polar vortex can bring high winds, sub-zero temperatures, and ice to many parts of Michigan. This dangerous winter weather can cause hazardous road conditions, downed power lines, and extended power outages. Be sure to stay safe before, during, and after a winter storm hits.
If power lines go down because of a winter storm and the electricity goes out, you may be in for a prolonged power outage as utility crews work to get the lights back on.
The National Weather Service tells us that winter storms are deceptive killers because most deaths are indirectly related to storms. Many hazards can remain after a winter storm is gone.
Below are some tips on how to stay warm during a winter power outage:
- Stay inside, and dress warm.
- Close off unneeded rooms and place draft blocks at the bottom of doors to minimize cold air entering the house.
- Cover windows at night.
- Be aware of 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.
- When the power is restored, there will be a power surge. To protect your circuits and appliances, switch off lights and unplug appliances. Leave one light switched on as a quick reminder that the power is restored.
Apart from the cold, there are other dangers winter storms can bring. Downed power lines could be submerged in snow and ice, making them difficult to see. Therefore, stay indoors if possible. If you must go outside, use caution and treat all downed and hanging lines as if they are energized. Stay away, warn others to stay away, and immediately contact the Grand Haven Board of Light & Power.
Be sure to have a storm preparedness kit ready before a storm strikes to help get you and your family through a power outage. This kit includes: bottled water, non-perishable food, blankets, warm clothing, first aid kit/medicine, flashlight, radio, extra batteries, and toiletries.
If you are using an alternative heating source during a power outage, be sure to know how to use it safely and that you have all needed supplies gathered. You should have enough supplies in your preparedness kit to last three to seven days. The Grand Haven BLP is a proud member of Safe Electricity.
For more information on electrical safety, visit SafeElectricity.org.