Many South Holland residents are without power after the major storm that came through on August 10. Please keep in mind these safety tips during a power outage:
• Make sure your home is equipped with a battery-operated or battery back-up carbon monoxide alarm.
• Never operate a generator inside your home or in other enclosed or partially-enclosed spaces. Generators can very quickly produce high levels of carbon monoxide (CO), which can be deadly. Opening doors and windows or operating fans to attempt to ventilate a generator will not prevent carbon monoxide build-up in the home.
• Keep generator at least 20 feet from your home.
• Do not overload the generator.
• Plug appliances directly into the generator or use a heavy-duty, outdoor rated extension cord. Make sure extension cords used with generators are rated for the load and have three-pronged plugs. They should be inspected for damage, such as cuts and/or worn insulation before use.
• Turn off all appliances powered by the generator before shutting down the generator.
• Make sure fuel for the generator is stored safely, away from living areas, in properly labeled containers, and away from fuel-burning appliances. Before re-fueling, always turn the generator off and let it cool down.
• A generator is a temporary power source. Use a generator only when necessary to power essential equipment or appliances.
• Keep children away from portable generators at all times.
Residents are also reminded that carbon monoxide, also known as the “invisible killer,” is an odorless, colorless, tasteless and poisonous gas. If you feel dizzy or weak, you should get to fresh air right away. If a CO detector goes off in your home, all residents should leave the house immediately and call 911 from outside or from a neighbor’s house.
While flashlights and battery-powered lighting are optimal for use during a power outage, if you must use candles, please make sure that you…
• Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.
• Keep candles at least 1 foot away from anything that can burn.
• Use candle holders that are sturdy and won’t tip over easily.
• Put candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface.
• Light candles carefully. Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame.
• Don’t burn a candle all the way down—put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
• Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.
• Never leave a child alone in a room with a burning candle. Keep matches and lighters up high and out of children’s reach, in a locked cabinet.
DOWNED POWER LINES
If you come across a low or fallen power line, adhere to the following safety tips:
• If you see a downed power line, move away from it and anything touching it. The ground around power lines – up to 35 feet away – may be energized.
• You cannot tell whether or not a power line is energized just by looking at it. You should assume that all downed power lines are live.
• The proper way to move away from the power line is to shuffle away with small steps, keeping your feet together and on the ground at all times. This will minimize the potential for a strong electric shock.
• If you see someone who is in direct or indirect contact with the downed line, do not touch the person. You could become the next victim. Call 911 for help.
• Do not attempt to move a downed power line or anything else in contact with it by using an object such as a broom or stick. Even non-conductive materials like wood or cloth, can conduct electricity if even slightly wet.
• Be careful not to touch or step in water near where a downed power line is located.
• Do not drive over downed power lines.
• Do not touch any metal fence if the power lines are near the fence.
If your car comes in contact with a downed power line while you are inside, stay in the car. Honk your horn to summon help, but direct others to stay away from your car. If you must leave your car because it is on fire, jump out of the vehicle with both feet together and avoid contact with both the car and the ground at the same time. Shuffle away from the car.