Record #: CWD1478
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2023
Last Full Update: 31 Dec 2019
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Coordinates: 44.6073644, -79.4190960
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Winter Storm Tips for Personal Safety
• Keep several days of food that does not need cooking or refrigeration. Remember to stock up on infant formula and baby food if you have children. If you plan on using canned goods, be sure to have a can opener that does not require electricity.
• Keep several days of water on hand (about 1 gallons per person per day for drinking, more for hygiene purposes) in case your pipes freeze or you lose power. Don't forget to store extra water and food for your pets.
• If you don't have a way to store the needed water you can wash out the bathtub with bleach, then fill it part way. If you don't have any other sources of water you can drink the water out of the tank on the back of the toilet, but NEVER out of the bowl.
• If power goes out and temperatures are below freezing, turn all faucets in the house on to a very slow trickle. The flowing water will help keep the pipes from freezing.
• Charge electronic devices and cell phones that can be used to report an emergency, check the status of a power outage or local emergency assistance. If possible, have an additional cell phone battery charged to act as a backup.
• Keep flashlights, a portable radio and extra batteries handy. Battery operated lights should be used instead of candles which can cause a fire.
• Keep a complete first-aid kit and a sufficient supply of prescription medications on hand at all times.
• Keep a written list of emergency numbers near your phone. Most hard-wired (non-cordless) phones will still work even in a power outage.
• If you have electrically powered life-support equipment, before a power outage occurs, ask your physician, nurse or equipment supplier about emergency backup. In an emergency, dial 911.
• If you have a generator, you must have it connected properly by a licensed electrician, for the safety and protection of our line workers and other emergency responders that may come near power lines.
• Install battery-operated carbon monoxide (CO) detectors and smoke alarms.
• Don't use the stove or oven to heat a home, and don't use generators in enclosed areas (garages, breezeways) or near other air intakes, windows or doors for risk of CO poisoning.
• Change smoke and CO detector batteries when resetting clocks for daylight savings.
• If a CO detector sounds, move to fresh air immediately and if experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms call 911. If no symptoms exist, call a qualified contactor immediately to have appliances checked. (There may be a few for this service.)
During a Storm
• Stay away from down or sagging power lines and any debris that might be entangled with power lines.
• Stay at least 25 feet away from all downed wires and always assume they are live and potentially deadly. If you see any downed power lines, call your local power company or your local law enforcement agency immediately.
• Don't touch anything a power line may be touching; including trees, fences and puddles. A good rule is if you are in a safe location (like your house or car), stay there and then make sure you notify your local electricity provider.
• Be sure children and pets also maintain a safe distance.
• Don't attempt to remove limbs or other debris from lines.
• Don't interfere with utility crews while they are working.
• Keep one light on so you'll know when your electricity has been restored.
• If power is lost, switch electronic devices such as cell phones to a power saving mode and keep all non-essential calls to a minimum to prolong battery life.
• Keep non-essential travel to a minimum. If you are leaving the house, turn the main breaker off. This will reduce the chance of appliance damage and safety problems if power is restored while you're away.
After a Storm
• Monitor your local radio station or your power company's web site on your mobile device to get the most current information on estimated restoration times.
• Avoid traveling through storm-damaged areas which could have downed power lines and other hazards, and could slow down the restoration efforts.
• Be very careful when attempting to clear debris or tree branches, that there are no power lines entangled. Stay far away from fallen or overhead power lines and do not touch anything they are touching.
• If your home loses heat during periods of extreme cold, go to a designated public shelter. Call 2-1-1 or contact your municipality for locations.
• When it is safe to leave your home, offer to help neighbors who may need special assistance, including infants, the elderly or people with disabilities.
Additional winter safety tips
• Never use kerosene or propane heaters inside without proper ventilation. They create dangerous fumes. Also, don't ever burn charcoal in your house or garage. It is best to have a battery operated carbon monoxide detector in any room where you are burning fuel (propane, kerosene or wood).
• If you are using a generator or have a fire in or near an enclosed space and begin to feel sleepy, GET TO FRESH AIR IMMEDIATELY - you could be experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning.
• If using a generator, make sure it is properly wired for your home or business, and don't connect a generator directly to your home's main circuit breaker panel or fuse box without having a properly installed transfer switch. This will protect customer equipment and prevent a back-feed hazard for the public and the utility line crews.
• Don't operate a portable generator inside your home or garage. Always properly ventilate a portable generator. Gasoline-powered generators produce carbon monoxide and the fumes can be deadly. As an added protection, ensure that carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are installed and working properly.
• As much as possible, do not open refrigerators and freezers - they will keep food and perishables inside cold for a longer period of time if not opened.
• Preserve body heat by wearing multiple layers of clothing. Add a hat and blanket to stay warm. Blankets and towels around windows and doors help keep the heat inside.
• Protect your pipes during freezing weather by wrapping them with insulation. Also, leave faucets dripping so water won't freeze and crack the pipes.
• Turn on your porch light when power is back in service. After crews complete repairs, they patrol the area of the power failure to see if lights are on.
• Preserve the battery on your cell phone by turning it off unless you need to make a call. Turn it on to check messages every few hours.
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