It’s the season for significant winter storms, and Wisconsin Public Service is sharing some safety tips.
If wet, heavy snow falls along with high winds, power outages from downed trees or limbs could result. People are reminded to stay away from downed power lines. They could still be energized and result in severe injury or death if contacted.
Customers with high-efficiency furnaces and water heaters that vent through the wall (not into a chimney) should be wary of a buildup of snow or ice around the vent. High-efficiency equipment provides great savings, but a blocked vent could cause the heating system to malfunction by shutting off or, in extreme cases, leading to an accumulation of carbon monoxide in the home. Heavy snow and high winds could provide conditions that will result in blocked vents. Customers should check the outside vents to make sure they aren’t covered with snow or ice.
Carbon monoxide, which cannot be detected by human senses, claims more than 2,000 lives each year and sends more than 40,000 Americans to the emergency room. At high concentrations, carbon monoxide can be fatal within minutes. CO results when there is an improper and/or inefficient burning of natural gas. Customers who experience flu-like symptoms only when at home should arrange for a carbon monoxide check from their local emergency agency immediately. Customers who aren’t using a carbon monoxide detector should consider purchasing one.
The Red Cross has several recommendations in preparing for winter storms at its website, redcross.org, including a power outage checklist.
WPS is also asking customers to be wary of the condition of gas and electric meters. Snow and ice buildup around gas meters, in particular, could lead to meter damage and a disruption in energy service. As the snow melts, customers should check to see if icicles are forming above the meters. Large icicles could cause meter damage and potential service interruption if they break and fall into meters.