Winter storms around the bend

Despite IREA’s efforts to clear overhanging branches and trees that may fall into electric lines, it is not possible to completely eliminate risks caused by the snow, ice and winds of winter storms.

When wind, ice and heavy snow bring down limbs and power lines, safety is a consideration indoors and out. Make sure you know how to weather the storm.

When outside, stay away from downed power lines:

• A power line does not need to be sparking or arcing to be energized. Equipment near power lines can also be energized and dangerous.

• Lines that appear to be “dead” can become energized as crews work to restore power, or sometimes from improper use of emergency generators. Assume all low and downed lines are energized and dangerous. If you see a downed or sagging line, immediately contact IREA at (800) 332-9540.

• Motorists should never drive over a downed line, as snagging a line could pull down a pole or other equipment and cause other hazards.

• Be careful approaching intersections where traffic or crossing lights may be out.

Before a winter storm, you should have supplies on hand, and know how to stay warm:

• Always keep a battery-powered radio or TV, flashlights and a supply of fresh batteries. You should also have water, blankets and non-perishable food.

• To prevent water pipes from freezing, keep faucets turned on slightly so that water drips from the tap.

• Never use a charcoal grill to cook or heat with inside the home. Burning charcoal gives off deadly carbon monoxide gas. Charcoal grills should only be used outdoors.

• If you don’t have to leave, stay inside and dress warmly in layered clothing. Close doors to unused rooms.

• When using an alternate heat source, follow instructions, use fire safeguards and be sure to properly ventilate.