Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Winter Storm Tips

Freezing rain from an ice storm covers everything with heavy, smooth glaze ice. Ice-covered roads become slippery and hazardous, as the ice causes vehicles to skid out of control, which can cause devastating car crashes as well as pile-ups. Pedestrians are severely affected as sidewalks become slippery, causing people to slip and fall, and outside stairs can become an extreme injury hazard.
In addition to hazardous travel conditions, branches or even whole trees may break from the weight of ice. The weight of the ice itself can easily snap power lines and also break and bring down utility poles, just one quarter of an inch of ice accumulation can add about 500 pounds of weight per line span.
The following winter storm home-preparation suggestions may be helpful:
  • Make sure flashlights and battery-powered radios are working, and keep extra batteries, candles and matches on hand.
  • Unplug sensitive appliances such as the TV, VCR, computer and microwave. If the power goes off, turn off all major electrical appliances.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. If you lose power, frozen food will generally keep for 48 hours. Discard perishable food that has been at 40 degrees for more than two hours. Odor or appearance is not an indicator that food is safe. When in doubt, throw it out. 
  • If you use an emergency-heating source such as a wood stove, kerosene heater or fireplace, keep fuels away from the flames and ventilate properly. Never leave a fire unattended.
  • If it seems likely that your home will be without heat for several days, drain your water pipes.
  • If you use a generator, read all the instructions that accompany it and be aware of the hazards that come with misuse. Use a qualified electrician to connect a generator to the house wiring. Never run a gasoline-powered generator in the house-the fumes are deadly.

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