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Column: West Virginians need to be prepared for winter storms

By Charlotte Lane, West Virginia Public Service Commission Chairman

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Utility companies work hard to keep the power on – and to restore it quickly when Mother Nature knocks it out.  I hope this helps you stay safe if you lose power during a winter storm.

Charlotte R. Lane

This time of year, snow and ice storms can occur at any time and often lead to power outages.  As I am writing this, thousands of our fellow West Virginians remain without power as a result of the storms that have moved through our area.  The Public Service Commission wants to help you stay safe and comfortable if your power goes out.  Good preparation means having the essentials in place before bad weather hits.  Plan now to protect your family, your pets and your property.

The first priority is providing protection and comfort for your family.  Stock your kitchen with food that doesn’t require cooking and three gallons of water per day for each person in the house for three days.  Always have an adequate supply of necessary medications on hand.  If medicine requires refrigeration, make sure you have a supply of ice.  In an emergency, you could also pack a cooler with snow.  Frozen food can be stored outside and most refrigerated food will stay fresh in the garage or on the porch.

Also keep flashlights or lanterns and a battery-powered radio with an adequate supply of fresh batteries.  Charge your cell phones, battery chargers and other devices before the storm arrives and use them sparingly to preserve the charge.  If you have an indoor kerosene or propane heater, be sure you also have a working CO2 detector with fresh batteries.  And never use a gas-powered generator indoors.

Stay warm by dressing in layers and staying together in one area of your home.  Close off rooms that are not being used and put towels under doors and blankets over windows.  If the temperature is below 25º, drip water from every faucet to avoid frozen pipes.  Make sure you know how to shut off the water main if the pipes should freeze and burst.

Don’t forget your pets.  Bring them inside if possible or ensure they have adequate shelter if they must be outside.  Keep food and water bowls full, and check often to be sure their water is not frozen.

Protect your vehicle by checking the antifreeze and topping off the gas tank to keep the fuel line from freezing.  If you have an electric garage door, know how to open it manually in case of emergency.

Utility companies work hard to keep the power on – and to restore it quickly when Mother Nature knocks it out.  I hope this helps you stay safe if you lose power during a winter storm.

This time of year, snow and ice storms can occur at any time and often lead to power outages.  As I am writing this, thousands of our fellow West Virginians remain without power as a result of the storms that have moved through our area.  The Public Service Commission wants to help you stay safe and comfortable if your power goes out.  Good preparation means having the essentials in place before bad weather hits.  Plan now to protect your family, your pets and your property.

The first priority is providing protection and comfort for your family.  Stock your kitchen with food that doesn’t require cooking and three gallons of water per day for each person in the house for three days.  Always have an adequate supply of necessary medications on hand.  If medicine requires refrigeration, make sure you have a supply of ice.  In an emergency, you could also pack a cooler with snow.  Frozen food can be stored outside and most refrigerated food will stay fresh in the garage or on the porch.

Also keep flashlights or lanterns and a battery-powered radio with an adequate supply of fresh batteries.  Charge your cell phones, battery chargers and other devices before the storm arrives and use them sparingly to preserve the charge.  If you have an indoor kerosene or propane heater, be sure you also have a working CO2 detector with fresh batteries.  And never use a gas-powered generator indoors.

Stay warm by dressing in layers and staying together in one area of your home.  Close off rooms that are not being used and put towels under doors and blankets over windows.  If the temperature is below 25º, drip water from every faucet to avoid frozen pipes.  Make sure you know how to shut off the water main if the pipes should freeze and burst.

Don’t forget your pets.  Bring them inside if possible or ensure they have adequate shelter if they must be outside.  Keep food and water bowls full, and check often to be sure their water is not frozen.

Protect your vehicle by checking the antifreeze and topping off the gas tank to keep the fuel line from freezing.  If you have an electric garage door, know how to open it manually in case of emergency.

Utility companies work hard to keep the power on – and to restore it quickly when Mother Nature knocks it out.  I hope this helps you stay safe if you lose power during a winter storm.

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