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How to survive a night without power

By Emiley Morgan  |  Posted Dec 1st, 2011 @ 8:47pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — As Rocky Mountain Power crews hustled to restore power to the approximately 50,000-plus Utahns who were left without electricity following strong winds in Davis County Thursday, officials pointed to the importance of preparing for nights without power.

"Get your emergency preparations out and organized and have an alternate place to go if the home gets too cold for you," company spokesman Dave Eskelsen said.

He said that crews working to repair the damage encountered different obstacles that kept the number of customers affected fairly consistent.

Power outage kit
Store these items in a water-tight container:
Bottled water - one gallon per person per day in the household.
Ready-to-eat foods
Manual can opener
Battery-operated radio
Clock
Flashlights
Extra batteries
Blankets
First aid kit

"We tend to get new outages even as we restore others," Eskelsen said.

Until power can be restored, he urged people to unplug unnecessary appliances, leave their refrigerators and freezers plugged in, but closed to preserve their food, and to leave a porch light on.

"That really helps crews as they go out and restore power to customers," Eskelsen said, as it lets them know who had the power return and who has not.

Joe Dougherty, spokesman with the Utah Division of Emergency Management, said there are a number of do's and don’ts when it comes to staying warm in situations where the power is out. Do stock up on blankets, wear multiple layers and keep a hat handy. Don't bring any sort of heat-generating combustible, such as a grill or a propane heater, inside homes or garages.

Power Outage FAQ

"That's when we see carbon monoxide illnesses and deaths," Dougherty said.

He said placing blankets or towels around windows and doors could also help to keep homes warm.

Dougherty recommended ensuring that there are foods available that don't need to be refrigerated or reheated. That's in addition to flashlights, fresh batteries, manual can openers and a battery-operated radio for updates.

"(Radios) can also be found in their car to get information," he said. "With no access to the Internet, especially because your cellphone may not be working or will be difficult to charge, turn on car radio about every hour for news updates."

Power outage safety
- Never use kerosene or propane heaters inside without proper ventilation. They create dangerous fumes. Also, don't use charcoal in your house or garage.
- Preserve body heat by wearing multiple layers of clothing. Add a hat and blankets to stay warm. Blankets and towels around your windows and doors help keep the heat in.
- Protect your pipes during freezing weather by wrapping them with insulation. Also, leave faucets dripping so water won't freeze and crack the pipes.
- Your full freezer should keep food frozen and safe for about two days when kept closed.
- If someone in your home is on life support, be sure to have a back-up system and a plan of action for an outage.

The car should be outside when turned on to listen to the radio, warm up and recharge necessary electronic devices. He noted, though, that landline telephones should function normally.

He said if a power line falls on the car to stay inside the vehicle until help comes. He warned against going near any downed power lines — whether they appear to be conducting electricity or not — and to keep pets away as well.

"If you see a downed power line, assume that it's dangerous and that it's energized, even if it's not sparking," Dougherty said. "If you see a person touching a power line do not touch them, call 911."

Those affected by a power outage may also want to keep faucets dripping to prevent any pipes freezing. "That could cause a second disaster," Dougherty said.

Additional information on emergency preparedness can be found at www.bereadyutah.gov and at https://twitter.com/utahemergency.

Email: emorgan@ksl.com

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