Staying Safe in a Winter Power Outage

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In Longmont, power outages are not only rare, they’re short, with LPC crews typically turning the lights back on in less than an hour. But Colorado winters do get chilly and longer outages are always a possibility, so be well prepared and consider the following tips for an emergency:

Planning Ahead

  • DO make sure you have flashlights, extra batteries, matches, candles, and a fire extinguisher.
  • DO keep a supply of non-perishable food, in a convenient and dry place. Foods that don’t require heating are best.
  • DO keep something warm to drink in the house, such as tea, coffee, or hot chocolate, if you have any safe heating source available. Besides warming your inside, a hot drink will help keep your hands warm, too.
  • DO keep non-electric items handy, where possible, for an emergency. For example, a hand-powered can opener can be a good backup to have.
  • DO plan to have somewhere else you can go, if you need to, especially if you have young, old, or disabled individuals living with you.
  • DO consider a backup generator, especially if you have medical needs. If you do plan to use a generator, be sure to read over our helpful safety tips.

During an Outage

  • DO check on any neighbors who are elderly or have medical issues. Make sure they are safe; if necessary, bring them to an area that has power and heat.
  • DO keep to one room as much as possible and concentrate on heating that room. Avoid choosing a room with large windows or uninsulated walls. Basements can be an alternative since the earth acts as extra insulation.
  • DO dress warm and wear layers. This is the time for that favorite sweater or sweatshirt, that colorful knit hat, and maybe even a coat and gloves if you need them to help trap body heat. Blankets and quilts are great, too!
  • DO block drafts wherever you can, such as by placing a rolled-up towel at the base of a door.
  • DO close your blinds or curtains to insulate your windows. Hanging drapes or bedding over the doors can help as well.
  • DO take the opportunity to make it a fun “camping trip” if you can. Pass the time by reading, playing board or card games, or with other pastimes that don’t require power. Pull out camping items like sleeping bags and hand warmers!
  • DON’T open your freezer or refrigerator unless absolutely necessary. This will help preserve your food longer. If the fridge is getting warm, take advantage of all the cold air and move your food to an unheated porch or garage.
  • DON’T open doors unless you have to. Cold air from an open exterior door can quickly drop the temperature with no easy way to bring it back up. Open interior doors can pull heat away from your “warm room.”
  • DON’T call 911 for a power outage. 911 should only be called if someone is injured or in danger. For an outage or a damaged power line, call LPC at 303-776-0011 or 303-651-8386.
  • DON’T forget safety! If you’re using an alternate heating source, make sure to be alert for fire and keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
  • DON’T burn anything larger than a candle inside unless it has ventilation to the outside, such as a fireplace and chimney. Any sort of non-electric heater should be vented. NEVER use a heater designed for outdoor use indoors.
  • DON’T burn outdoor barbecue materials indoors – even in a fireplace!
  • DON’T use your oven as a heat source. Electric ovens are ineffective as space heaters and gas ovens can cause carbon monoxide poisoning when used this way.

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