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January 23, 2010 03:00 PM

How To Stay Safe If You Lose Power

With thousands of people across South Dakota without power tonight, local providers are urging everyone to be ready, in case the lights go out.  Here are a few tips on how to be safe if you lose power.

When Mother Nature dumps freezing rain on KELOLAND, power lines can break or sag because of the weight of the ice.  Fallen or broken branches can fall on lines, too.  That means some homes and businesses won't have electricity.  While you can't prevent losing power, you *can be prepared.

Make sure you have food and water. Be prepared with bottled drinks, and fill your cupboards with granola bars and other canned and packaged items that don't need to be cooked.

Stock up on light sources - matches, candles, and flashlights. Make sure you have batteries, or even a battery operated radio. And if you lose power, you might also lose phone service. So keep your cell phones charged.

During the winter, losing electricity means losing heat, so have blankets and warm clothing on hand and dress in layers.

You can also use portable generators to provide electricity. But you have to have the right hookup, or the electricity will feed back and put your home and line workers at risk.

If you can, report outages... and downed or sagging power lines to your local utility or local emergency services.

And if you see fallen or sagging electrical lines, assume that they're live and stay clear.
Stay away from wires and any other structures that may be connected to the electricity.

Also watch out for fallen or broken branches and trees as they are a major cause of power outages and could be energized if they are in or come in contact with a live electric line.

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