Check to make sure your flashlights and any battery-operated radios are in working order. Have a supply of extra batteries. Weather updates and news on restorations of electrical service can be heard on most local radio stations.
Does your car have emergency supplies? Consider sand, shovel, flares, booster cables, rope, ice scraper, portable radio, flashlight, blankets and extra warm clothes.
Never follow a snowplow too closely or attempt to pass one. (Remember, the highway ahead of the plow is usually snow-covered.) Assume that bridge surfaces are slippery, as they freeze more quickly than roads. Be mindful of black ice, it can be difficult to see and makes conditions slippery when pavement temperatures are below freezing. Have a cell phone with you.
Treat all downed wires as if they are live. Never attempt to move them or touch them with any object. Be mindful: down wires may be hidden by snow, tree limbs, leaves, or water.
Report all downed wires to CL&P and your local police department immediately. If a power line falls on your car while you’re in it, stay inside the vehicle and wait for emergency personnel.
If you lose power during the winter:
Call your utility company to determine area repair schedules.
Disconnect or turn off appliances that would otherwise turn on automatically when service is restored. If several appliances start up at once, the electric circuits may overload.
Leave one light on to indicate when power has been restored.
Alternate heating sources often are used without following proper safety precautions creating greater numbers of fire hazards. When operating a generator:
Be sure to properly disconnect from your utility electrical service before installing a generator.
Run generators outside, downwind of structures.
NEVER run a generator indoors. Deadly carbon monoxide gas from the generator’s exhaust can spread throughout enclosed spaces.
Fuel spilled on a hot generator can cause an explosion. If your generator has a detachable fuel tank remove it before refilling. If this is not possible, shut off the generator and let it cool before refilling.
Do not exceed the rated capacity of your generator. Most small, home-use portable generators produce 350 to 12,000 watts of power. Overloading your generator can damage it and the appliances connected to it, and may cause a fire.
Keep children away from generators at all times.
Alternative Heating Safety Tips
Use only safe sources of alternative heat such as a fireplace, small well-vented wood or coal stove or portable space heaters. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions.
Make sure you have proper ventilation.
Have a fire extinguisher and smoke detectors and make sure they work.
If you use kerosene heaters as an emergency source of heat, be sure to:
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Use only the correct fuel for your unit.
Refuel outdoors ONLY and only when the unit is cool.
Keep the heater at least three feet away from furniture and other flammable objects.
Use fire safeguards and ventilate properly.
Carbon Monoxide Safety
Install a carbon monoxide detector. Automotive exhaust, home heating systems and obstructed chimneys can produce the colorless, odorless gas. The gas can also be produced by poorly vented generators, kerosene heaters, gas grills and other items used for cooking and heating when used improperly during the winter months.
Open a window slightly when using a kerosene heater.
NEVER run generators indoors.
NEVER use charcoal to cook indoors.
NEVER use a gas oven to heat your home.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include sleepiness, headaches and dizziness. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, ventilate the area and get to a hospital.
Prevent Water Pipes from Freezing
Wrap pipes in insulation or layers of old newspapers. Cover the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture.
Let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing. Let hot and cold water trickle at night from a faucet on an outside wall.
Teach family members how to shut off water valves.
Open cabinet doors to allow more heat to get to un-insulated pipes under a sink or appliance near an outer wall.
Make sure heat is left on and set no lower than 55 degrees.
If you plan to be away have someone check your house daily to make sure the heat is still on to prevent freezing. Or drain and shut off the water system (except indoor sprinkler systems).
If Pipes Freeze
Make sure you and your family knows how to shut off the water.
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.