Company offers safety tips, warnings about carbon monoxide
Editorial by National Grid
National Grid crews across upstate New York are prepared for a winter storm bearing down on the eastern seaboard beginning today and through Wednesday morning. Forecasts are calling for a combination of rain and snow, with the potential for heavier accumulations and some icing across the company's upstate New York service area.
"Our first concern is the safety of the public and our employees," said Ken Daly, president, National Grid New York. "We are prepared for this storm and, in the event of service interruptions, will assess damage and restore service as quickly as possible. We also want the public to be prepared."
Safety is a No. 1 priority and the company is urging customers to watch out for their own well-being and the safety of utility crews working during the storm, especially by staying off slippery roads if crews are working to restore service.
National Grid's storm plans include regular communication with state and local officials, first responders and life-support customers.
National Grid provides a number of channels for customers to learn about service issues and interruptions during storms. Customers can receive text message alerts and updates by texting the word STORM to NGRID (64743) or follow the storm on their mobile devices by using the National Grid mobile app. The company provides real time outage information on its "Outage Central" website at nationalgridus.com/OutageCentral.
Email alerts also are available to customers who create an online profile on the company's website. All alert services can be started and stopped at the customer's request. National Grid also provides storm and restoration updates through Facebook and Twitter.
Severe weather can raise the potential for service interruptions. It's a good idea to have a number of working flashlights, at least one battery-operated radio and an extra supply of batteries in your home. A radio is a good way to stay in touch, as National Grid provides news media with timely information regarding service restoration efforts.
National Grid is keeping safety a priority
National Grid offers the following tips for customers to minimize inconvenience and maximize safety in the event storm-related power interruptions do occur.
•National Grid customers who experience outages should call National Grid's outage line at 1-800-867-5222 immediately to expedite restoration.
•Never touch downed power lines, and always assume any fallen lines are live electricity wires. If you see one, report it immediately to National Grid or your local emergency response organization.
•Power problems can sometimes interrupt public water supply systems or disable well pumps, so it's an especially good idea to keep a supply of bottled drinking water handy, as well as some canned food.
•People who depend on electric-powered life-support equipment, such as a respirator, should let National Grid know. To register as a life-support customer, call the company's customer service center at 1-800-642-4272.
•Check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage period.
•If you use a generator to supply power during an outage, be sure to operate it outdoors. Before operating generators, disconnect from National Grid's system by shutting off the main breaker located in the electric service panel. Failure to do this could jeopardize the safety of line crews and the public.
•If you lose power, turn off any appliances that were on when the power went off, but leave one light on so you will know when power is restored.
•The buildup of ice and snow around or over gas meters and vents for natural gas appliances could pose a serious safety risk. Ice and snow falling from a roof can damage gas meters or service connections to customers' homes or businesses, resulting in a gas leak.
•Ice and snow blocking vents could cause carbon monoxide (CO) to back up into a building and result in carbon monoxide poisoning for those inside.
•To avoid these dangers, National Grid advises natural gas customers to closely inspect areas around and over gas meters, service hook-ups and vents for ice and snow that could damage equipment or prevent CO from properly venting.
•National Grid advises you take immediate action anytime you suspect a natural gas leak:
Get Out - All occupants should leave the house immediately. Open windows to ventilate. Do not use the telephone or light switches for any reason.
Call Us - After leaving the house and reaching a safe environment, call the National Grid 24-hour gas emergency number: 1-800-892-2345 in upstate New York.
Stay Out - Do not return to your home until National Grid tells you it is safe.
•The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to those of the flu. Depending upon the amount of carbon monoxide in the air and length of exposure, symptoms may include headaches, weakness, confusion, chest tightness, skin redness, dizziness, nausea, sleepiness, fluttering of the heart or loss of muscle control.
•If you suspect carbon monoxide is present in your home, go outside immediately and breathe deeply; then call 911. If symptoms are severe, get medical attention right away.