There are several feet of snow outside. You’ve lost power and heat, and your pipes are frozen. What do you do? Here are a few tips.
If The Lights Go Out
- Grab that flashlight from your disaster kit .
- Call your utility company first to determine area repair schedules. Turn off or unplug lights and appliances to prevent a circuit overload when service is restored. Leave one light on to indicate power has been restored.
- If you see downed power lines, do not touch them – assume they are live. Report the location of the downed power line to your utility company.
- Protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning:
- DO NOT operate generators indoors; the motor emits deadly carbon monoxide gas.
- DO NOT use charcoal to cook indoors. It, too, can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide gas.
- DO NOT use your gas oven to heat your home -- prolonged use of an open oven in a closed house can create carbon monoxide gas.
- Make sure fuel space heaters are used with proper ventilation.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to help reduce food spoilage.
- Turn settings to the lowest possible temperature. This will allow your food to stay cold in a fridge for 24 hours and the freezer for 48.
Staying Warm Indoors
- Keep warm by closing off rooms you do not need.
- Use only safe sources of alternative heat such as a fireplace or portable space heaters. Always follow manufacturer's instructions. And make sure there is proper ventilation, because an otherwise safe situation could become dangerous.
- Dress in layers of lightweight clothing and wear a hat.
- Have lots of blankets on hand.
- Eat well-balanced meals and keep hydrated.
- Don't forget about your pets. Bring outdoor pets inside and if they can't be indoors make sure to provide adequate, warm shelter and unfrozen water to drink.
Protecting Water Pipes
- Make sure you and your family know how to shut off the water, in case pipes burst. Stopping the water flow minimizes the damage to your home. Call a plumber and contact your insurance agent.
- Never try to thaw a pipe with an open flame or torch.
- Always be careful of the potential for electric shock in and around standing water.
Most importantly, stay inside! Winds, both before and after a blizzard, are cold enough to cause frostbite.
Now that you're ready for the next storm, lend a hand to food pantries in need by donating some key items. GO