From Columbia Gas:
8 simple cold weather safety tips
Extremely low temperatures are on the way and we want you to be ready. Here are some simple home safety tips that can keep you and your home safe.
- Make sure all appliances and heating equipment, such as a furnace, water heater, or stove are inspected and operating properly.
- Operate all pieces of equipment, including space heaters and generators according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Never use stoves, ovens or outdoor grills as a source of heat.
- Provide adequate ventilation when using fireplaces or unvented space heaters.
- If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
- If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away from things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs.
- Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed. Using secondary heating sources, such as space heaters, can increase the chance of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Protect your pipes – run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent your pipes from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage. **Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children.
- Check your carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors to ensure they are operating properly.
Natural Gas Meter Safety
- Keep natural gas meters clear of snow and ice to prevent damage and provide easy access should maintenance be needed.
- Remove snow from the meter with hands or a broom. Never use a shovel, or kick or hit the meter to break away snow or ice. If the meter is encased in ice, contact Columbia Gas for assistance.
What To Do If You Smell Natural Gas
If you smell natural gas in your home, evacuate immediately. Do not operate anything that could cause a spark including lights, cell phones, flashlights and appliances. From a safe location, call 9-1-1 and then the Columbia Gas emergency number at 1-800-432-9515.
From Kentucky American Water
The winter season is here, and bitterly cold temperatures are in the forecast for the next several days. Kentucky American Water offers the following tips to help property owners prevent the possibility of frozen pipes.
Keith Cartier, vice president of operations for Kentucky American Water, stresses that it’s important to make preparations to prevent water damage from frozen and burst pipes before temperatures plunge. “When water freezes, it expands and takes up more space. That is why water that freezes inside a water pipe can cause it to burst. Burst water pipes can cause a lot of damage to a home or business, and we want to do everything we can to help our customers avoid that inconvenience and, perhaps, costly repairs,” he explained.
According to Doug Brock, manager of field operations for Kentucky American Water, customers with frozen or burst pipes are unfortunately a common theme in the winter cold. “When our field crews are called to investigate why a customer has no water during cold weather, frozen lines are one of the first things we look for. Most often frozen lines occur in areas such as crawl spaces or outside walls, where unprotected plumbing tends to be more vulnerable to the elements.”
Luckily, these problems are preventable by evaluating areas of vulnerability throughout the home. Implementing the following winterization tips now can help avoid headaches later:
- Search your house for un-insulated pipes, especially in unheated areas. Check attics, crawl spaces, and outside walls. Consider wrapping pipes with insulation sleeves.
- Another option is electric heating tape, but follow manufacturers’ instructions carefully to avoid a fire hazard.
- Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations with caulking to keep cold air away from pipes, especially where cable TV or phone lines enter the house.
When below-freezing temperatures are forecast, keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets that are supplied by pipes running through an unheated or unprotected space. A steady stream of water about the size of a pencil lead can keep water from freezing.
- Keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes.
- If your home is heated by a hot-water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them slightly. Close them when water appears.
- Make certain that the water to outside faucets is shut off inside your house (via a turnoff valve), and that the lines are drained. Don’t forget to disconnect and drain garden hoses.
- Drain and shut off entirely the water to any unoccupied residence such as a summer or vacation home. A loss of power during a winter storm could cause pipes to freeze.
If you intend to leave a property entirely without heat, have the water turned off at the water main, and drain all water from pipes and fixtures to prevent the possibility of damage.
Set the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees if you’re going out of town. Although you may be able to get away with a lower temperature, this setting is considered to be safe for pipes.
Consider wrapping your water heater in an insulation blanket. While not really at danger for freezing, this can lower your heating bills.
Kentucky American Water encourages everyone to take action now to prevent frozen water pipes during the winter season.
Kentucky American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately half a million people. For more information, visit www.kentuckyamwater.com
Safety is always a priority for KU/LG&E in difficult weather. As snow and ice accumulates, it can weigh down and break tree limbs, which can fall onto power lines and cause power outages.
Always stay away from any downed line. Don’t assume a downed line is a cable or phone line. Treat any downed line as if it were energized and contact us immediately. In addition, do not try to move or drive over the line.
And, if you own a portable generator, it is extremely important that you operate it safely.
Most electric power outages are temporary and do not necessarily require back-up power supplies. However, many people have special needs or want the security of knowing they have back-up generation in the event of an emergency.
If you own a portable generator for use in emergency situations, it is extremely important that you operate it safely. Improper installation or use can lead to house fires or electricity feeding back into our electric system endangering the lives of our repair crews.
Before you buy a generator, make sure it’s the right size for your needs. Always consult with a qualified, licensed electrician and/or review the manufacturer’s instructions before you install the generator.
A qualified, licensed electrician can ensure your generator is properly installed and that the wires in your home are isolated (using a special transfer switch) from our electric system.
Portable generators should always be operated outside and should be properly vented. You should never refuel your generator when it is operating.
KU/LG&E has experienced and qualified crews and the equipment to help restore service faster than ever before. When necessary, we may ask for assistance from contract crews and other utilities to help us restore your electric service as quickly and as safely as possible.
We encourage you to take the following steps to prepare for extended power outage situations:
- Check medications that require refrigeration. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist to find out if the medication would be affected by a prolonged interruption of power. You may want to keep a small cooler handy so you can store your medication on ice until your power is restored.
- Set aside water either in bottles or in plastic jugs.
- Be prepared to cook outside on your grill. DO NOT bring your grill inside your home to cook. A grill without proper ventilation can be deadly.
- Stock up on batteries and easy-to-prepare foods. Don’t forget to have extra batteries for flashlights. Have a flashlight for each family member. Keep a manual can opener handy.
- Unplug sensitive equipment (computer, VCR, stereo, answering machine, garage door opener, etc.). You may want to consider purchasing surge protectors for those extra-sensitive devices, such as your computer.
- Keep a battery-operated radio handy, as well as additional batteries to operate it.
Every home should have an outage/emergency kit that has the following items in it.
- A battery-powered radio and, if possible, a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
- A corded or cellular telephone since cordless telephones will not work if the power is out
- Flashlights for everyone in the family
- Over-the-counter and prescription medications
- A battery-operated lantern and extra fresh batteries
- A first aid kit
- Bottled water and an adequate supply of non-perishable food
- A manual can opener
- A list of emergency telephone numbers
- Fresh batteries for any devices
- Candles and matches
- Wind-up clock
- Food and supplies for pets
- Paper plates/plastic utensils
- Whistle (to signal for help)
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties
- Baby items such as diapers, formula, etc.
- ABC type fire extinguisher
Store the kit in an easy-to-grab place and make sure everyone knows where it is.