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Power outages tend to happen more in the peak winter months, January being the main one. If an outage happens in your area, get through it with these important tips.

Before an Outage
 - Check flashlights and battery-powered portable radios to ensure that they are working and that you have extra batteries.  A radio is an important source of weather and emergency information during a storm.
 - Have sufficient heating fuel, as regular sources may be cut off. Have emergency heating equipment and fuel (a gas fireplace, wood burning stove or fireplace) so you can keep at least one room livable.  Be sure the room is well- ventilated.
 - Make sure your home is properly insulated.  Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows to keep cold air out.
 - Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from inside to provide insulation.
 - To keep pipes from freezing, wrap then in insulation or layers of newspapers, covering the newspapers with plastic to keep moisture out.
 - Let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing.
 - Know how to shut off water valves.
 - If pipes do freeze, remove insulation, completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they are most exposed to the cold. A hand-held hair dryer, used with caution, also works well.
 - If your water supply could be affected (a well-water pump system), fill your bathtub and spare containers with water. Water in the bathtub should be used for sanitation purposes only, not as drinking water.
 - Pouring a pail of water from the tub directly into the bowl can flush a toilet.
 - Set your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings (remember to reset them back to normal once power is restored). During an outage, do not open the refrigerator or freezer door.  Food can stay cold in a full refrigerator for up to 24 hours, and in a well-lacked freezer for 48 hours (24 if it is half-packed).
 - If you have medication that required refrigeration, check with your pharmacist for guidance on proper storage during an extended outage.
Review the process for normally operating an electric garage door.

During an Outage
 - Dress for the season, wearing several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothes, rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
 - Mittens are better than gloves.
 - Wear a hat; most body heat is lost through the top of the head.
 - Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
 - Snow can be melted for an additional water source
 - In order to protect against possible voltage irregularities that can occur when power is restored, you should unplug all sensitive electronic equipment, including TV's, stereos, DVD or Blu-Ray players, ovens, compulter, cordless telephone and garage door openers.

After an Outage

 - Be extra cautious if you go outside to inspect for damage after a storm.  Downed or hanging electrical wires can be hidden by trees or debris and could be live.  Never attempt to touch or move down lines.  Keep children and pets away from them.
 - Check with and help your neighbors.
 - Continue to stay off the streets.
 - Do not touch anything power lines are touching, such as tree branches or fences.  Always assume a downed line is a live line. Call your utility company to report any outage-related problem

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