Blizzards have been known to have toppled trees and knocked down power lines, sometimes leading to dangerous, even life-threatening situations. The upcoming snow storm over the weekend could be destructive and dangerous, according to forecasters.
Xcel Energy and communications companies, including Comcast and CenturyLink, are preparing for the upcoming weekend storm.
“We’re watching the current winter storm in the Denver area. Our network is fully operational in all locations, and backup generators are in place should we lose commercial power, ”said Jeremy Jones, a CenturyLink spokesman. “We are ready to work with fuel and battery resources as long as we have refueling resources.”
Energy and communication service providers are equipping themselves with additional crews and resources in order to avoid business interruptions whenever possible.
“Our top priority is to ensure that all customers have access to heat and electricity so they can stay safe,” said Michelle Aguayo, a spokeswoman for Xcel Energy. “We are closely monitoring this storm as it develops and are actively implementing plans, including increasing crews to work as quickly and safely as possible to restore power in the event of an outage.”
Experts recommend several safety precautions that the public can take during the storm, including the following Q&A scenarios:
I discovered a failed power line. What should I do?
Don’t go near it, keep a safe distance and call Xcel Energy at 800-895-1999. If the downline is in an emergency, someone is injured, or has started a fire, call 911.
What if the line is down but looks harmless?
Never approach a failed power line, says Xcel Energy. “Always assume that they are live and extremely dangerous.” Touching a live wire or other nearby object, e.g. A fence, puddle, or vehicle, for example, can cause electric shock, causing critical injury and even death.
What if i’m in a vehicle and a power line fell on it?
If possible, wait in the vehicle for help. The metal housing of the vehicle conducts an electrical charge to the floor and leaves the interior bump-free, according to safety experts. Should a fire break out or a life threatening emergency, jump out of the vehicle and land with your feet together. “Don’t hold the door while jumping and hop or shuffle the floor once,” said Xcel Energy.
As with rundown power lines, people who encounter fallen trees, broken branches, and desperate or limp limbs from snow should think about safety first, experts say.
What if a branch touches a power line?
Don’t go near it or try to remove it yourself. Contact Xcel or your utility again.
What if a branch damaged my house or roof?
Call a professional arborist, contractor, or fire department if the branch went through your roof or damaged your home.
What if a fallen tree crosses a sidewalk or street?
Call your city public works department if this is not a threat. If the fallen tree creates a road hazard, notify your local fire department or police.
Should I shake branches or hit with a broom to unload snow and ice?
No, say the experts. Do not stand under a snow- or ice-laden tree, even if you are wearing protective clothing. Falling snow and ice are unpredictable and heavy. Let the snow and ice melt naturally. Snow and ice can be removed from branches of small trees or shrubs if they are not over your head. Gently chop off the snow or ice with a broom. If it doesn’t go away, leave it alone. Do not cut branches that are brittle in the cold.
Should I remove small fallen branches from sidewalks and paths?
Yes, it is a sensible and safe precaution. Clear a path to your front door.