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Tips to prepare for an evening without power

Published: Tuesday, June 30 2015 11:47 a.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — As Rocky Mountain Power crews hustle to restore power to the approximately 50,000-plus Utahns left without electricity following strong winds in Davis County, the power company is saying people should prepare for a night without power, just in case.

"Get your emergency preparations out and organized and have an alternate place to go if the home gets too cold for you," company spokesman Dave Eskelsen said.

He said that crews are working to repair the damage and get the power flowing again, but said it was expected that the winds could continue to impact other costumers into Thursday evening.

"We tend to get new outages even as we restore others," Eskelsen said.

In the interim, he urged people to unplug unnecessary appliances, leave their refrigerators and freezers plugged in, but closed to preserve their food, and to leave a porch light on.

"That really helps crews as they go out and restore power to customers," Eskelsen said, as it lets them know who had the power return and who has not.

Officials say it may take 48 hours to restore power to all of those who lost it in the high winds.  

Joe Dougherty, spokesman with the Utah Division of Emergency Management, said there are a number of do's and don’ts when it comes to staying warm. Do stock up on blankets, wear multiple layers and keep a hat handy. Don't bring any sort of heat-generating combustible, such as a grill or a propane heater, inside homes or garages.

"That's when we see carbon monoxide illnesses and deaths," Dougherty said.

He said placing blankets or towels around windows and doors could also help to keep homes warm.

Dougherty advised individuals to make sure they have foods that don't need to be refrigerated or reheated. That's in addition to flashlights, fresh batteries, manual can openers and a battery-operated radio for updates.

"(Radios) can also be found in their car to get information," he said. "With no access to the Internet, especially because your cellphone may not be working or will be difficult to charge, turn on car radio about every hour for news updates. KSL will be broadcasting that information."

The car should be outside when turned on to listen to the radio, warm up and recharge necessary electronic devices. He noted, though, that landline telephones should be functioning normally.

He said if a power line falls on the car, to stay inside the vehicle until help comes. He warned against going near any downed power lines — whether they appear to be conducting electricity or not — and to keep pets away as well.

"If you see a downed power line, assume that it's dangerous and that it's energized, even if it's not sparking," Dougherty said. "If you see a person touching a power line do not touch them, call 911."

He also said residents affected by the power outage may want to keep faucets dripping to prevent any pipes freezing. "That could cause a second disaster," Dougherty said.

Additional information can be found at www.bereadyutah.gov and at https://twitter.com/utahemergency.

Officials at Rocky Mountain Power said they would have a better idea what the situation will be heading into the evening after they assess with operations crews around 4 p.m.

E-mail: emorgan@desnews.com Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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