A major winter storm is hitting the Upper Peninsula and northeastern Wisconsin.
Wet, heavy snow combined with high winds could result in power outages from downed trees or limbs.
If this occurs Upper Peninsula Power Co. officials are reminding area residents to stay away from downed power lines.
They could still be energized and result in severe injury or death if contacted.
Faced with a major snow storm, Upper Peninsula Power Co. officials offers several important reminders for customers.
Customers with high-efficiency furnaces and water heaters that vent through the wall (not into a chimney) should be wary of a buildup of snow or ice around the vent.
High-efficiency equipment provides great savings, but a blocked vent could cause the heating system to malfunction by shutting off or, in extreme cases, leading to an accumulation of carbon monoxide in the home.
Customers should check the outside vents just to make sure they aren't covered with snow or ice. Heavy snow and high winds could provide conditions that will result in blocked vents.
Carbon monoxide is an invisible, tasteless, odorless, undetectable poisonous gas that cannot be detected by human senses.
Dubbed the "silent killer," carbon monoxide claims more than 2,000 lives each year and sends more than 40,000 people to the emergency room in the U.S. alone.
At high concentrations, carbon monoxide can be fatal within minutes. CO results when there is an improper and/or inefficient burning of natural gas.
Customers who experience flu-like symptoms only when at home should arrange for a carbon monoxide check from their local emergency agency immediately.
Area residents who aren't already using a carbon monoxide detector should strongly consider purchasing one.
Upper Peninsula Power Co. officials are also asking customers to be wary of the condition of gas and electric meters.
Snow and ice buildup around gas meters, in particular, could lead to meter damage and a disruption in energy service.
As the snow melts customers should check to see if icicles are forming above the meters. Large icicles could cause meter damage and potential service interruption if they break and fall into meters.
To prepare for a winter storm:
- Keep handy a battery-powered flashlight, NOAA weather radio and portable radio, extra food (canned or dried food is best), can opener, and bottled water (at least three gallons per person).
- Make sure each member of household has a warm coat, gloves, hat and water-resistant boots. Ensure that extra blankets and heavy clothes are available. Keep on hand items for infant, elderly or disabled family members.
- Be aware of potential fire and carbon monoxide hazards if you plan to use an emergency heating source such as a fireplace, wood stove or space heater.
- Avoid overexertion, such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a car, or walking in deep snow. Sweating could lead to chill and hypothermia.
- Walk carefully on snowy, icy sidewalks. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight warm clothing in layers. Wear wool hat and mittens.
- Keep your clothes dry. Change wet socks and clothing quickly to prevent loss of body heat.
- Understand the hazards of wind chill. As wind speed increases, heat is carried away from a person's body more rapidly.