So last week's "snow bomb cyclone" left a lot of us without power, cable, and all the creature comforts! To be ready next time, take a look at the following tips to “weather the storm”! Also, check with your insurance provider about coverage on storm damage. This USAA site provides some good info on typical coverage.
High winds, heavy wet snow and severe icing can cause local electrical service interruptions. Take a look around your property and identify any old, dying trees and limbs. Consider having them removed now, before another blast of wet, heavy snow comes our way.
In the event of an outage, it’s a good idea to have a number of working flashlights, at least one battery-operated radio and an extra supply of batteries in your home. A radio is a good way to stay in touch, as power companies typically provide news media with timely information regarding service restoration efforts.
If you lose power, turn off any appliances that were on when the power went off, but leave one light on so you will know when power is restored. Power problems can sometimes interrupt public water supply systems or disable well pumps, so it’s an especially good idea to keep a supply of bottled drinking water handy, as well as some canned food.
After the storm, if your home is without power, call your power company’s outage reporting number. If you see a downed power line on your street, report it to your power company and your local emergency response organization. Assume all downed power lines are energized and dangerous. Do not go near any wires you see on the ground and keep children and pets indoors until the problem is fixed.
If you see evidence of electrical system damage in your home such as sparks or broken or frayed wires, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, avoid the area, and call an electrician first for advice.
Until the power comes back on, leave your refrigerator and freezer doors shut. Opening them will cause the temperature inside to rise and hasten food spoilage.
If you plan to use a portable generator during a power outage you must make sure the main circuit breaker in your electric service panel box is in the OFF position or, in older electric service panel boxes, that the main fuse block is removed. This is necessary to prevent your generator’s electricity from going back into the power lines in the street and potentially endangering the lives of line crews and other emergency workers. Generator exhaust contains deadly carbon monoxide – never run an electric generator inside your house.