Columbus, Neb. – Nebraska has already got an early taste of winter and the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) observes Winter Weather Preparedness Day on Thursday, November 5. Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) wants its customers throughout the state to be aware of safety precautions when it comes to electricity and power outages during the winter months.
Winter storms with heavy amounts of snow, wind and ice can impact power lines in various ways and can cause unexpected outages. This can also result in weather conditions that are too dangerous for crews to work in. “Our lineworkers are always prepared to deal with storms before they happen and will work around the clock to safely restore power,” says NPPD Corporate Safety Manager Brad Palu. “If a storm is too intense for crews to safely work in, they will wait for the storm to calm down and then begin working until power is restored. “Most Nebraskans know the potential damage winter storms can cause, but if the power goes out we want our customers to take precautions and be safely prepared,” added Palu. NPPD encourages homeowners to assemble a few items including a flashlight, extra batteries, a portable radio, at least one gallon of water, and a small supply of food. It is also suggested that the refrigerator and freezer doors should be kept closed during an outage to keep food cold.
Some homeowners may have access to a generator that can be turned on in case of a power outage, but these should never be used indoors. “Using items such as a grill or generator indoors or in areas that are not well ventilated can be dangerous to those inside the house. If you have a generator, make sure it is installed properly by a licensed electrician,” advised Palu. “If an indoor fireplace is being used to stay warm during an outage, make sure the fireplace is properly maintained to avoid any dangers caused by poor ventilation or the fire spreading outside of the fireplace.”
If someone comes upon a power pole that has fallen or a downed power line, it is vital that they stay away from the area and notify their local public power utility of the damage. The ground around these areas could be charged with electricity and could be dangerous to anyone who approaches them.
For more information regarding power outage and winter safety tips, go to “Power Outages” in the upper right corner of https://www.nppd.com/outages-safety