Public Safety officials urge Hoosiers to prepare for coming power outages

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Press release from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security:

Public Safety officials urge Hoosiers to prepare for coming power outages

Powerful winds and significant amounts of accumulating ice and snow are expected to produce widespread and potentially extended power outages across northern and central Indiana. Public safety officials are encouraging Hoosiers to prepare as outages may be anticipated as early as this evening as the winter storm begins rolling into the state.

“Utility companies will be working extremely hard to minimize the number of power outages and the length of time any Hoosiers are without power, but with the possibility of a storm of this magnitude widespread outages could still occur,” said Indiana Department of Homeland Security Executive Director Joe Wainscott. “As this storm progresses over the next day or so, Hoosiers in the path of this storm should stay inside as much as possible, and take precautions now to prepare for power outages.”

During a power outage

  • Do NOT call 911 to report a power outage. Instead, contact your utility company. Calls to 911 should be reserved for life-threatening emergencies only.
  • Open all cabinet doors and leave all hot and cold water taps slightly open so they drip continuously. This will help prevent pipes from freezing.
  • If the power goes out, note the time of the outage and keep refrigerator/freezer doors closed to help keep perishable food cold. Perishable foods, including meat, dairy, eggs and cooked vegetables need to be stored at or below 41 degrees Fahrenheit.

Listen to your battery-powered radio to find out about current weather conditions and when the power might be restored.
Unplug some of your major appliances. When the power comes back on, a power surge could harm sensitive equipment. To avoid a power surge when the electricity returns, turn off computers, TVs, stereos and other unnecessary electronic equipment at the power source.
Tips for staying safe and warm during a power outage

  • Use a fireplace, wood stoves, or other combustion heaters only if they are properly vented to the outside.
  • Exercise caution when heating with any alternative heating devices, as well as propane appliances, and older wall or floor gas furnaces.
  • Never use a charcoal or gas grill indoors-the fumes are deadly.
  • Never attempt to heat your home with an oven. Carbon monoxide can build up in your home if the oven is left on for an extended period of time.
  • Check that you have a working carbon monoxide detector.
  • Avoid lighting your home with candles during a power outage. Never leave lit candles unattended.

Dress to stay warm — wear layers, including a sweater, sweatshirt or even a jacket.
Insulating your home

  • Keep garage doors, storm doors and window shutters closed.
  • Close blinds and drapes or cover windows with a blanket to help prevent heat from escaping through the glass.
  • Place rolled-up towels or blankets at the base of doors and windows to prevent cold air from drafting in.
  • Remember that heat rises, so the highest level in your home is likely to be the warmest.

Medical Conditions

Individuals who rely on electricity to operate at-home oxygen or dialysis machines, or to refrigerate insulin are advised to contact their local emergency management agency as soon as possible to inquire about emergency care plans.

Individuals who rely on transportation to medical facilities for life-sustaining treatment, such as dialysis, should also contact their local emergency management agency for information about emergency transportation plans.

Contact information for all county emergency management agencies is available here.

For more information about preparing for and staying safe during severe winter storms visit www.in.gov/dhs/getprepared.

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