RAPID CITY, S.D. — Winter storms in South Dakota can be unpredictable, making preparation for a snow or cold event vitally important.
According to Black Hills Energy, there’s a list of preparations that you can make.
You should have a drawer that’s designated to keep batteries and if you haven’t done it yet, it’s a good time to test your flashlights.
Power outages in the Black Hills can last for a couple hours to several days. That’s why it’s important to make sure that your fridge and freezer are closed so that you can maintain the maximum amount of freshness for your groceries for as long as possible.
Preparation should also include a second source of heat like a fire place or pellet stove.
If your secondary heat source uses gas or kerosene, be wary of carbon monoxide levels.
“If you had to use anything else, if for an example a gas fire place, again do understand, make sure it’s clear and safe before you use that if your gas furnace is operating at that time, so just want to be careful,” said Mutch Usera, the Senior Program Manager of Community Relations at Black Hills Energy. “Most homes should and may have carbon monoxide detectors and that will keep you safe as well.”
If you do lose power, contact your energy provider to see if the outage has been reported and if any updates are available and you should never approach downed power lines.
“What we are concerned about is the unpredictable, a tree landing on a power line based on heavy snowfall or heavy winds, obstacles, objects may also create an outage as well as a downed power line, but we really recommend for you to stay away from downed power lines because you really don’t know if that power line is still energized and that’s the big concern we have,” Usera said.
Preparation and safety tips that can have you ready for a South Dakota winter.
Black Hills Energy’s full list of tips are:
- Never touch or attempt to pick up a fallen power line and keep children and pets away. Assume any downed power line is energized.
- Do not attempt to rescue someone in contact with a power line. If you see a downed power line, call our emergency number 888-890-5554 or 911 immediately.
- Prepare for an outage by setting up an emergency drawer or kit that’s easy to access, even in the dark. Stock it with fresh batteries, a battery-powered radio and a flashlight. Avoid using candles, lanterns or oil lamps because of the fire risk. Be sure everyone in the family knows where the emergency drawer or kit is located.
- If any member of your family is on life support, plan for arrangements today to get them to a location where their needs can be met if electric service is interrupted. In addition, please contact us at 888-890-5554 to make sure we’ve noted that a life-support system exists at your home.
- Unplug sensitive computer and electronic equipment or protect them with a high-quality surge protector.
- If your power goes out, see if your neighbors have power. If they do, check your home for blown fuses or a tripped circuit breaker.
- If your neighbors don’t have power or if you can’t locate the problem, contact us immediately by calling our emergency number at 888-890-5554.
- Leave a lamp or electric radio on so you know when service is restored.
- Also turn on a porch light. This will help speed our power restoration process, as we will be able to quickly confirm that your power is back on without knocking on your door or checking the meter.
- Do not open your refrigerator or freezer more than necessary. Undisturbed food will remain frozen in most freezers for 12 to 48 hours.
- Do not use charcoal grills to heat your home or cook indoors. Dangerous carbon monoxide fumes can build up and cause injury or death.
- If you use a portable generator, follow the manufacturer’s safety and operating guidelines. Be sure to operate the generator in a well-ventilated area. Never operate it indoors or in your garage. Again, dangerous carbon monoxide fumes can build up and cause injury or death.
- Because carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless and tasteless, have a carbon monoxide detector with fresh batteries installed to warn you of potentially dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.