Winter can bring beautiful days with chilly weather that are perfect for a brisk walk in the Rio Grande Valley. Winter’s fury can also produce heavy winds and wind chills, which in return can cause power outages.
Fortunately, we don’t have to worry about snowstorms in the RGV, but the possibility of ice and heavy winds can bring tree limbs down on power lines, cutting off power to homes and businesses.
Planning can make riding out a prolonged power outage much safer and a little more comfortable. How long it takes for your power to be restored depends on several factors: the extent of the storm’s destruction, the number of outages in your area, and when it becomes safe for co-op personnel to get to the affected areas.
Take steps now to help keep your family safe and comfortable during a winter storm long before one is forecasted. A good way to start is to put an emergency kit together. Magic Valley suggests starting with these items.
Water: Stock up on bottled water for consumption. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends storing at least 1 gallon per person per day.
Food: Have enough food, including nonperishable packaged or canned foods, juices, special foods for infants or the elderly, and snack foods, for three to seven days.
Utensils: Be sure you have a manual can opener, paper plates and plastic utensils.
Layers and added warmth: Gather blankets, pillows and warm clothing. Layering up will help keep you and your family warm while our crews work to get the lights back on.
Medicine and other items: Include a first-aid kit, common over-the-counter drugs, prescriptions and any essential medical equipment.
A phone charger: Keep a fully charged power pack on hand.
- Toiletries, hygiene items and moist towelettes.
- A flashlight and extra batteries.
- A battery-operated radio or a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio.
- A list of emergency phone numbers.
- Toys, books and games.
- Pet food and other pet-care items.
Make sure your heating system is in proper working order and observe these safety tips:
- Never use a portable generator indoors, in a garage or anywhere near windows or doors, because they emit deadly carbon monoxide.
- Never plug a portable generator into a wall outlet. Doing so can create deadly back feeding, which occurs when electricity travels from the generator back through the power lines.
- Monitor the temperature in your home. Infants and older people are more susceptible to the cold.
- During any outage, assume all downed and hanging lines are energized.