Is your power out? Stay safe with these tips

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(Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal via AP)

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo.– In light of today’s severe weather and high winds, many areas in southwestern Colorado are experiencing power outages. To check your specific area’s outages, click here.

The following tips are courtesy of Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management and Colorado Springs Utilities:

Safety Tips During A Storm 

  • Monitor electric outages using Colorado Springs Utilities’ online outage map, or check with your local utility company. 
  • Monitor electric outages using Mountain View Electric Association’s online outage map
  • Do not use ovens, stoves or camping stoves for heat to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Check the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s recommendations related to food safety if you have experienced a power outage. 
  • Keep freezers and refrigerators closed. 
  • Use a generator, but ONLY outdoors and away from windows. 
  • Do not use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. 
  • Disconnect appliances and electronics to avoid damage from electrical surges. 
  • Have alternate plans for refrigerating medicines or using power-dependent medical devices. 

See more tips at ready.gov/power-outages and csu.org/Pages/StormCenter.aspx  

Power Line Safety

Downed power lines can look relatively harmless, however they likely carry an electric current strong enough to cause serious injury or possibly death. If you see this, stay away from the line and/or tree, and immediately call your local utility company or call 911.   

  • If you see a downed power line, move away from the line and avoid touching it. 
  • The proper way to move away from the line is to shuffle with small steps, keeping your feet together and on the ground at all times. This will minimize the potential for a strong electric shock. Electricity wants to move from a high voltage zone to a low voltage one—and it could do that through your body. 
  • If you see someone who is in direct or indirect contact with the downed line, do not touch the person. You could become the next victim. Call 911 instead. 
  • Do not attempt to move a downed power line or anything in contact with the line by using another object such as a broom or stick. Even normally non-conductive materials like wood or cloth, if slightly wet, can conduct electricity and electrocute you.  
  • Be careful not to put your feet near water where a downed power line is located. 
  • Do not drive over downed lines. 
  • If you are in a vehicle that is in contact with a downed line, stay in the vehicle. Honk your horn for help and tell others to stay away from your vehicle. 
  • Do not touch or attempt to move wires that might not normally be electrically charged as the high winds may have brought then into contact high voltage lines

Here is Colorado Springs Utilities’s educational video on electric outages.

Here is a similar video by Colorado Springs Utilities for kids about safety during an electric outage.

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