National Grid crews prepare for winter storms all year round by taking part in drills and familiarizing themselves with time-tested emergency restoration plans. As the season approaches, the company urges its customers to also prepare for possible storms and power outages, as well as learning important safety tips in case of an unexpected event.
In the event of an outage, National Grid crews follow an emergency plan to begin restoring service as safely and quickly as conditions allow. Accurate damage surveys, restoration estimates, clearing of damage and repairs are all critical parts of any major weather event. Consistent communication with local public officials and the media is maintained throughout the duration of restoration efforts to keep the public informed.
"If there is an outage in your area, please note that while waiting for your power to return, we're doing everything we can to restore service as quickly as possible," said Paul Cianchetti, vice president, Operations, National Grid.
Customers are urged to take special precautions if you use a portable space heater to keep warm during an outage. Some types of kerosene and propane portable space heaters get hot enough to ignite nearby draperies, carpet, paper, clothing or furniture. It's important to periodically check nearby objects to see if they feel hot. It's also important to choose a model that has an Underwriters Laboratories label, which means it has passed certain safety tests. If you must use a portable space heater, check to make sure it has a safety information label and an automatic shutoff device that turns the heater off if it tips over or becomes too hot.
If you choose to use a portable generator during a power outage you must make sure the main circuit breaker in your electric service panel box is in the "off" position or, in older electric service panel boxes, that the main fuse block is removed. This is necessary to prevent your generator's electricity from going back into the power lines in the street and potentially endangering the lives of line crews and other emergency workers. Generator exhaust contains deadly carbon monoxide never run an electric generator inside your house or other enclosed space.
Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that can be deadly if left undetected. It is the byproduct of the incomplete burning of fuels such as natural gas, butane, propane, wood, coal, heating oil, kerosene and gasoline.
In addition, National Grid offers these important safety tips for customers during a storm or other emergency event:
Never touch fallen power lines or anything in contact with fallen wires such as a car, fence or tree.
If your home is without power and you believe National Grid is not aware of the outage, call the company's power outage number, 1-800-867-5222. For those who have computer access, or who might be monitoring outages for someone else, National Grid provides real-time outage information including the option to report an outage in the Outage Central section of the company web pages.
Disconnect sensitive appliances such as DVD players, televisions, computers and microwave ovens to avoid potential power surge damage when electricity is restored.
Turn off any appliances that were on when power went off, but leave one light on so you will know when power is restored.
Keep refrigerator and freezer doors shut. Food will stay six to nine hours in a refrigerator without spoiling. Frozen foods will keep about 24 hours.
Burn only wood or newspapers in your fireplace.