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National Grid urges safety as winter storm provides snow, whiteouts, hazardous travel conditions


Wed, Feb 7th 2018 05:40 pm
A winter storm warning has been issued for portions of National Grid's upstate New York service area through Thursday at 4 a.m. Whiteout conditions and zero visibility will make travel dangerous. As a result, these areas could experience power interruptions, and National Grid wants customers to be both prepared and safe.
The company's field crews and support personnel are ready to address outages and equipment damage, and the company is urging customers to be safe during any events.
Travel conditions for crews will be extremely difficult, so the company asks for patience while it completes restorations if power interruptions occur.
National Grid is also urging everyone to take precautions to avoid the potential hazards from the mounting snow accumulation. At many homes and businesses, the deep snowpack and additional snow left by snow removal equipment is clogging vents to furnaces and other appliances. In addition, many roofs are laden with ice and snow overhanging natural gas equipment. Both conditions can lead to trouble, including dangerous carbon monoxide buildup indoors. Be sure to keep vents clear of snow.
The company offers the following tips for electricity customers to minimize inconvenience and maximize safety if power interruptions occur:
Electricity & Generator Safety
Keep National Grid's power outage reporting number - 1-800-867-5222 - on hand in case needed. In an outage, customers should call this number immediately to expedite restoration.
If you use a generator to supply power during an outage, be sure to only operate it outdoors. Regardless of ventilation, never operate a generator indoors. Before operating a generator, be sure to disconnect from National Grid's system by shutting off the main breaker, located in the electric service panel. Failure to do this could endanger our crews and your neighbors.
Never touch downed power lines; always assume they are carrying live electricity. If you see a downed line, report it immediately to National Grid at 1-800-867-5222 or your local emergency response organization.
Keep 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 informed, as National Grid keeps news media up-to-date on service restoration efforts. 
In case an outage is prolonged, keep a supply of bottled drinking water handy, along with some canned food and a manual can opener.
Customers who depend on electrically powered life support equipment, such as a respirator, should register as a life support customer by calling National Grid's customer service center at 1-800-642-4272. (In a medical emergency, always dial 911.)
Drive carefully and use caution when driving near any repair crews working to restore power.
Be sure to check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage period.
National Grid also advises staying tuned to local media for important announcements from emergency officials about possible evacuations or other emergency procedures. In most areas, information on storm shelter locations is available by calling 211.
Ice and Snow Buildup Poses Risk to Gas Equipment
The buildup of ice and snow around or over natural gas meters, regulators and pipes can 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 potential gas leaks. Anyone detecting the odor of natural gas should call National Grid. If the odor is present inside your building, leave the premises immediately and call from outside or a neighboring building. 
Snow removal equipment operators also should be aware of the presence of natural gas equipment and avoid coming in contact with meters, hitting outside gas risers, or piling snow around vents mounted on the outside of buildings.
Gas Safety
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 meter and service equipment, or block vents that could result in dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide.
The symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to those of the flu. Depending upon the amount of CO 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.
National Grid advises you take immediate action anytime you suspect a natural gas leak:
Get Out - All occupants should leave the house immediately. Do not use the telephone, light switches or automatic garage door openers 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.
Stay Out - Do not return to your home until National Grid tells you it is safe.
Stay Connected
National Grid offers several ways to stay informed and safe - before, during and after a storm:
For real-time power outage information, online outage reporting, and in-depth storm safety information, visit the outage central section of National Grid's website, www.nationalgridus.com. Customers who create an online profile on the website can also sign up for email alerts.
To receive text message alerts and updates from National Grid, text the word STORM to NGRID (64743). Online and text alert services can be started and stopped at the customer's request.
Other ways to stay in touch:

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