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Boreal Community Media

What to do in a winter power outage: tips to stay warm and safe

Dec 16, 2021 07:07AM ● By Editor
Photo: KBJR-TV

By Quinn Gorham from KBJR-TV - December 15, 2021

With severe winter weather in the forecast, power crews across the Northland are on standby waiting to fix any power outages that might occur.

Amy Rutledge with Minnesota Power said they’re ready to handle outages and want customers to know they’ll have things back up and running as quickly as possible.

“We ask for our customers’ patience. The safety of our crews, they’re out there battling these extreme weather conditions as well and we want to make sure they can do their work and do it in a safe way,” she said.

If you do find yourself without power, Deputy Chief of Life Safety Jon Otis, with the Duluth Fire Department said there are a few things you can do to stay warm and safe at the same time.

Otis said the most important thing to remember is not to panic.

“This is going to be a temporary inconvenience for most people. Depending on the severity of the storm it might last anywhere from a few hours to a few days,” said Otis.

Otis said if you need to warm up make sure to do it in a safe way.

“Anytime you are using anything that is combustible inside, that’s extremely dangerous because it could lead to a buildup of carbon monoxide, which could be fatal,” said Otis.

He also said to be careful when handling open flames.

Anything larger than a candle can create a serious fire hazard indoors and smoke can put you at additional risk for carbon monoxide poisoning.

According to Otis, the best way to stay warm is to conserve the heat you already have.

“If your house is heated try to keep the doors closed, windows closed, and keep it as tight as you can to maintain the heat in that space so that you have less to heat,” he said. He said the best thing to do is to prepare ahead of time.

“You’re going to have a better outcome when something happens, you’re not going to panic, and you’re going to be able to tough out that short period of time you’re without power,” said Otis.

Both Rutledge and Otis said to never go near a downed wire even if you don’t suspect it to be live. You can report any outages to your local power company.

To see the original report and read related stories, follow this link to the KBJR-TV website.