Be prepared for winter weather

Indiana’s winter weather can bring unpredictable power outages

Winter storm graphic

When winter arrives, Hoosiers are never sure of what to expect. Heavy snows, freezing rain, ice storms can create electrical hazards warns Indiana Electric Cooperatives.

“Being safe around electricity is something you should focus on year-round,” said Jon Elkins, vice president of safety, training, and compliance for IEC. “But Indiana winters can bring a whole slew of dangerous hazards, especially where power lines are concerned.”

Snow and ice can accumulate on power lines, and the added weight can cause them to snap off the power poles, or to cause the poles to break. Fallen power lines create immediate electrical hazards while prolonged outages bring their own problems.

Developing a plan before it’s needed is important for weathering a prolonged outage during severe weather. IEC recommends residents keep a storm preparedness kit fully stocked. The basic supplies in this kit should include:

•           Bottled water

•           Non-perishable food

•           Emergency blankets

•           First aid kit/medicine

•           Flashlight

•           Battery operated or hand-crank radio

•           Extra batteries

•           Toiletries.

“We recommend residents stay in their homes and eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car,” Elkins said. “Roads may be dangerous, and workers will be out trying to repair electrical lines; we want to get the power back on as quickly and safely as possible for our members.”

To protect homes’ electrical equipment during an outage, turn off and unplug all unnecessary electronics or appliances. This will keep equipment from being damaged by surges or spikes when the power returns.

Once an outage is over, there are still safety precautions to take. Electrical power lines could still be down. If you see downed power lines, do not touch them. Call your local REMC or 911 for assistance.