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Winter can bring beautiful days for brisk walks and snow angels. Winter’s fury can also produce icy roads, subfreezing wind chills and power outages.
Unfortunately, heavy snow and accumulating ice can easily bring tree limbs down on power lines, cutting off power to homes and businesses.
Planning can make riding out a prolonged power outage much safer and a little more comfortable. How long it takes for your power to be restored depends on several factors: the extent of the storm’s destruction, the number of outages in your area and when it becomes safe for co-op personnel to get to the affected areas.
Prepare Your Home Before a Winter Storm
Here are some tips that will help you stop high energy bills before they start:
• Seal any gaps that create drafts in your home, and improve your insulation if needed.
• Caulk throughout the house wherever walls meet floors or door frames and between the outside of the window frame and the siding. Choose caulk designed for the surface you’re caulking, and use a high-quality caulk, which will last longer.
• Apply weather stripping to all exterior doors and windows. Weatherstripping is a thin piece of material that seals the gap between where the door or window meets the jamb. Self-sticking foam pieces are quick and easy to apply.
• Replace worn door sweeps on exterior doors to help prevent heat loss under the door.
• Seal windows with thin plastic sheets using an insulator kit. Shrinking the plastic film with a hair dryer ensures a smooth and tight seal.
• Wrap exposed pipes with pipe insulation and cover faucets. Consider using electric heat tape to protect pipes from the cold. If a pipe breaks, shut off your water immediately.
How to Save Energy
• Keep an eye on the thermostat and set it as low as comfortably possible. Bundle up with sweaters, socks and slippers while in the house.
• Keep shades, curtains and blinds closed at night to keep out more of cold air, but open window coverings during the day to bring in the sun’s warming rays.
• Always turn off lights you don’t need, and avoid using energy-burning electric space heaters if possible.
Have An Emergency Kit
Take steps to help keep your family safe and comfortable during a winter storm long before one is forecast. A good way to start is to put an emergency kit together.
Water: Stock up on bottled water for consumption. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends storing at least 1 gallon per person per day. Fill a clean bathtub or empty jugs with water for people/pets or in case you need to flush toilets.
Food: Have enough food, including nonperishable packaged or canned foods, juices, special foods for infants or the elderly, and snack foods, for three to seven days.
Utensils: Be sure you have a manual can opener, paper plates and plastic utensils.
Layers and added warmth: Gather blankets, pillows and warm clothing.
Medicine and other items: Include a first-aid kit, common over-the-counter drugs, prescriptions and any essential medical equipment.
A phone charger: Keep a fully charged power pack on hand.
• Toiletries, hygiene items and moist towelettes.
• A flashlight and extra batteries.
• A battery-operated radio or a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio.
• A list of emergency phone numbers.
• Toys, books and games.
• Pet food and other pet care items.
• Supplies for alternate heating methods, such as a fireplace or wood-burning stove.
Outage Safety Tips
Make sure your heating system is in proper working order and observe these safety tips:
• Never use a portable generator indoors, in a garage, or anywhere near windows or doors because they emit deadly carbon monoxide. Read our safety tips for using generators.
• Never plug a portable generator into a wall outlet. Doing so can create deadly backfeeding, which occurs when electricity travels from the generator through the power lines.
• Monitor the temperature in your home. Infants and older people are more susceptible to the cold.
• Avoid going outside. Downed power lines could be hidden in snow and ice, making them difficult to identify. Assume all downed and hanging lines are energized and deadly.
Posted: 2/10/2022 2:42:05 PM