Cold yet safe: Plug into these freezing weather tips

Snow accumulation reached double figures Thursday, and temperatures could go to single figures anytime.

Safety at home and on the road is critical in this harsh time of year, as we see the relatively mild late January turn into a snow-laden February.

The Hood River Warming Shelter, for the homeless, will be at Mid-Columbia Center for Living, on Woods Court on the Heights, Friday and Saturday, and then it moves to Riverside Community Church. As many as 12 people came in from the cold over the past few nights.

But those of us with a warm home might still find ourselves in the cold and dark should an outage happen. Every home should have an emergency kit that includes a flashlight, battery-operated radio and clock, extra batteries, non-perishable foods, a manual can opener, bottled water, and blankets. (Throw in a deck of cards, too.)

More safety tips:

n Candles should never be left unattended or used for extended periods. Use a flashlight or other battery-powered lighting source.

n Use a fireplace or wood stove to keep warm. Pay careful attention to fire hazards.

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

n Never use a barbecue grill indoors. Cook over sterno cans.

n Don’t drive over downed power lines.

n Turn on your porch light switch. After power crews complete repairs, they patrol the area of the power failure to see if lights are on.

n As much as possible, do not open refrigerators and freezers — they will keep food and perishables inside cold for some time if not opened.

n 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 in.

n Check on your neighbors, especially those who may need special assistance. Also, check with others who have electricity, to see if you can visit.

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

n Generators should be outside or in a well-ventilated unoccupied space.

n 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 panel. This can create a dangerous back-feed hazard for line crews.


If a power outage occurs, Pacific Power encourages customers to first check fuses and circuit breakers. If the power failure is not caused inside the home or business, the customer should report the outage to Pacific Power at 1-877-508-5088.

To ease the inconvenience of power outages and assist crews in restoring power, Pacific Power suggests the following tips and safety precautions:

n Stay away from all downed power lines and utility lines. Even if the lines are not sparking, they could be energized and extremely dangerous.

n Call and report the outage to Pacific Power at 1-877-508-5088.

“We work hard to avoid outages, but when bad weather strikes —outages happen, and we work just as hard to get your power back on quickly and safely,” said Doug Butler, vice president of operations. “Based on experience, we’ve anticipated and prepared, and we’re ready to assist customers should major outages occur. Just as our crews are prepared to respond, we ask our customers to be prepared as well so we can work together to keep safety the No. 1 priority.”

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