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RMP gives winter safety tips

Delivering safe, reliable electric service is Rocky Mountain Power's continual focus. However, conditions outside of the utility's control, such as severe weather, accidents and other unpredictable situations, can cause power outages despite the company's best preparations. Customers are encouraged to take precautions before the next storm arrives to stay safe during a power outage.

"We work hard to avoid power outages, but when bad weather strikes and outages occur, we work even harder to restore power safely and quickly," said Mike Felice, Rocky Mountain Power safety director. "Just as our crews are prepared to respond to outages, we ask our customers to be prepared to help ensure the safety and well-being of their families."

Assemble a preparedness kit to help in the event of any kind of emergency, including the a flashlightm, non-perishable foods, a manual can opener, bottled water, blankets, a battery-operated radio and clock and extra batteries.

If someone in your home is on life support equipment, be sure to have a back-up system and a plan of action for an outage.

During a power outage, residents should do the following things.

*First check fuses and circuit breakers. If the power failure is not caused inside the home or business, customers should report the outage to Rocky Mountain Power by calling toll free at 1-877-508-5088.

*Never use kerosene or propane heaters inside without proper ventilation. They create dangerous fumes. Also, don't ever burn charcoal in your house or garage.

*Make sure generators are properly wired for your home or business, and don't connect a generator directly to your home's main fuse box or circuit breaker panel without having a properly installed transfer switch. This will protect customer equipment and prevent a backfeed hazard for the public and the utility line crews.

*Don't operate a portable generator inside your home or garage. Always properly ventilate a portable generator. Gasoline-powered generators produce carbon monoxide and the fumes can be deadly. As an added protection, ensure that carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are installed and working properly.

*As much as possible, do not open refrigerators and freezers - they will keep food and perishables inside cold for a longer period of time if not opened.

*Preserve body heat by wearing multiple layers of clothing. Add a hat and blanket to stay warm. Blankets and towels around windows and doors help keep the heat inside.

*Protect your pipes during freezing weather by wrapping them with insulation. Also, leave faucets dripping so water won't freeze and crack the pipes.

*Turn on your porch light when power is back in service. After crews complete repairs, they patrol the area of the power failure to see if lights are on.

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