Be Prepared for Winter Storms
By Abby Berry
When winter temperatures drop and storms hit. it can be challenging to stay sage and warm. Winter storm severity varies depending on where you live, but nearly all Americans are affected by extreme winter storms at some point. Be Storm Smart cares about your safety, and we want you to be prepared.
Heavy snow and ice can lead to downed power lines, leaving co-op members without power. During extremely low temperatures, this can be dangerous. During a power outage, our crews will continue to work as quickly and safely as possible to restore power, but there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself.
Stay warm - Plan to use a safe alternate heating source, such as a fireplace or wood-burning stove during a power outage. These are great options to keep you and your loved ones warm, but exercise caution when using, and never leave the heating source unattended. If you are using gasoline-, propane-, or natural gas-burning devices to stay warm, never use them indoors. Remember that fuel- and wood-burning sources of heat should always be properly ventilated. Always read the manufacturer's directions before using.
Stay fed - The CDC recommends having several days' supply of food that does not need to be cooked handy. Crackers, cereal, canned goods and bread are good options. Five gallons of water per person should also be available in the event of an extended power outage.
Stay safe - When an outage occurs, it usually means power lines are down. It is best not to travel during winter storms, but if you must, bring a storm kit along, and do not travel alone. If you encounter downed lines, always assume they are live. Stay as far away from the downed lines as possible, and report the situation to your cooperative if possible.
Winter weather can be unpredictable and dangerous, and planning ahead can often be the difference between life and death. Be Storm Smart is ready for what Mother Nature has in store, and we want you to be ready, too. For more winter safety tips, visit https://www.ready.gov/winter-weather.
Abby Berry writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington,VA-based service arm of the nation's 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives.