Safety Guidelines for Winter Power Outages

Minnesotans are no strangers to severe winter storms, but it can never hurt to brush up on your storm safety preparedness knowledge. Taking the necessary precautions before, during, and after a winter storm can help keep you and your family safe and help prevent costly damage to your home and its electrical and plumbing systems.

Before

  • Create an emergency supply kit of essentials, and make sure to replenish it after each outage so that it is always fully stocked in case of unexpected emergencies.
  • Make sure you have a good stock of flashlights, as well as plenty of batteries to operate them. Flashlights are a safer choice than candles, which can pose a fire hazard.
  • Keep a portable, battery-operated radio in the house. If the television isn’t working, a radio will be your crucial source of information for all status updates about the storm and when power will be restored.
  • Plan a backup source of emergency heat in case your furnace goes out, and make sure it’s equipped with anything it needs to operate (and that you are comfortable operating it).
  • Turn your fridge and freezer down to their coldest settings. This will help to keep food fresh longer if you lose power.
  • Trim branches of any trees in your yard that hang over your house or power lines to decrease the likelihood of them breaking off and causing damage during a storm. If the branches are too close to the power lines, consider contacting your utility company for assistance—it can be dangerous to work around power lines if you don’t know how to exercise appropriate caution.
  • Always keep the gas tank of your car at least half full during the winter so that if you do have to drive somewhere during a power outage, you’re able to.

During

  • Wear several layers of loose-fitting, warm clothing. The layers will do a better job of insulating your body heat than one single layer of heavier clothing. The top of your head is where most body heat is lost, so trap it with a hat.
  • Unplug all sensitive electronic appliances so protect them from being fried if there is a sudden power surge when power is restored.
  • Avoid opening your refrigerator or freezer. If you’re out of power for a long time and your freezer’s temperature rises too high to keep food fresh, you can move frozen items to a snow bank as a makeshift “natural” freezer.

After

  • Exercise extreme caution if you go outside to inspect for damage after a storm. Exposed live wires can be hidden by snowdrifts, as can debris such as fallen branches. Never attempt to repair any fallen power lines yourself.

Preparation is the best protection in the event of a severe winter storm. Give yourself greater peace of mind by exploring our Bonfe Peace of Mind Service Plans, which provide 24/7 priority scheduling for all emergency visits. Contact one of our service experts for help deciding which package is right for your home.

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