National Grid is assuring Rhode Islanders they are ready to take on the power outages with over 500 wires down personnel ready to go but say if storm conditions get particularly bad people should prepare for multi-day power outages.
National Grid is urging Rhode Islanders who depend on respirators and other electronic equipment to ensure batteries are charged and be prepared to be without electricity.
"We take this storm very seriously and we are ready for it," said Kathy Lyford, vice president, New England Operations. "As always, safety is our top priority. We want customers to understand that our crews will begin working to restore power once the high winds and heavy snow subside and it is safe to do so."
Once the snow subsides roads may possibly be impassible and it may be difficult for crews to make it to power lines to immediately restore power.
Here are some tips from NATIONAL GRID to help electric and natural gas customers avoid injuries and stay safe:
People who depend on electric-powered life support equipment, such as a respirator, should let National Grid know. To register as a life support customer, call the company's Customer Service Center at 1-800-322-3223.
It's a good idea to have a number of working flashlights, at least one battery-operated radio and an extra supply of batteries in your home. A radio is a good way to stay in touch, as National Grid provides news media with timely information regarding service restoration efforts.
If you plan to use a generator to supply power during an outage, be sure to only operate it outdoors. Before operating generators, be sure to disconnect from National Grid's system by shutting off the main breaker located in the electric service panel. Failure to do this could jeopardize crew safety. Be sure to use other heat sources such as fireplaces and space heaters safely.
If you lose power, turn off any appliances that were on when the power went off, but leave one light on so you will know when power is restored.
After the storm, be sure never to touch downed power lines, and always assume that any fallen lines are live electric wires. If you see a downed power line, keep everyone away and call us immediately at 1-800-465-1212.
Power problems can sometimes interrupt public water supply systems or disable well pumps, so it's an especially good idea to keep a supply of bottled drinking water handy, as well as some canned food.
Please leave damaged poles alone. Handling or cutting utility poles—or burning them in your fireplace, wood stove or furnace—potentially exposes you to the chemicals used to treat and preserve these poles.
Please drive carefully and use caution when driving near any repair crews working to restore power.
Check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage.
Natural gas customers also need to take precautions:
Be sure to clear snow away from vents and exhaust ducts of appliances such as water heaters, ranges and clothes dryers.
Use caution when removing snow from roofs to ensure it does not fall on and damage the gas meter.
Never burn wood or coal in an indoor area without proper venting. Portable gas and charcoal grills intended for outside use should never be used indoors, or even inside an open garage.
Never run a car in an attached garage, even with the garage door open. Car exhaust contains carbon monoxide and is the leading cause of carbon monoxide fatalities.
Never use your gas range to heat your apartment, or house. Your range's oven and top burners are designed to cook your food, not to heat your home. Prolonged use can reduce oxygen levels in the home and contribute to unusually excessive levels of carbon monoxide.
Keep in Touch with National Grid:
Outage reporting hotline – Massachusetts and Rhode Island customers can call 1-800 465-1212 to report an outage.
Text messages – Customers can receive text message alerts and updates through a free service the company offers. Text the word STORM to NGRID (64743) to sign up for the service.
National Grid uses social media – Facebook and Twitter -- to communicate with customers about service issues and interruptions during storms.
E-mail alerts are also available to customers who create an online profile on the company's website. All alert services can be started and stopped at the customer's request.
Customers can use their mobile devices to track outage information and storm related safety tips through National Grid's new mobile site that can be accessed at nationalgrid.com.