National Grid warns of ice buildup
ALBANY — National Grid customers should be aware that the potential hazards of large amounts of snow and ice on or around their home can be serious, but may not always be obvious, according to a utility news release.
The company provides the following safety tips so customers can be prepared:
∫ The buildup of ice and snow around or over natural gas meters, regulators and pipes can pose a serious safety risk. Ice and snow falling from a roof can damage gas meters or service connections to customers’ homes or businesses, resulting in potential gas leaks. Customers should take immediate action if a natural gas leak is suspected:
∫ Get Out — Occupants should leave the house immediately. Do not use the telephone, light switches or automatic garage door openers for any reason.
∫ Call Us — After leaving the house and reaching a safe environment, call National Grid’s 24-hour gas emergency number: 1-800-892-2345.
∫ Stay Out — Do not return to your home until National Grid tells you it is safe.
∫ Cleared snow should never be piled around vents. A blocked vent can lead to the buildup of deadly carbon monoxide.
∫ The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to those of the flu and can include headaches, weakness, confusion, chest tightness, skin redness, dizziness, nausea, sleepiness, heart fluttering or loss of muscle control. If you suspect carbon monoxide is present in your home, immediately go outside and breathe deeply, then call 911.
∫ When clearing snow, customers and snow removal contractors should be aware of the location of natural gas equipment to avoid coming in contact with meters, hitting outside gas risers, or piling snow around vents mounted on the outside of buildings.
∫ The photos provide a closer look at how snow and ice accumulation on roofs can place a burden on electricity service wires, also known as the weatherhead, that bring energy into the home. Those wires are live and are a potential hazard to anyone attempting to clear snow. As snow and ice melt or are otherwise removed, inspect the connection point from a safe distance to be sure it hasn’t been pulled away from the building, creating a potential fire hazard.
National Grid urges home and building owners to be especially cautious as they work to clear snow and ice by following these safety recommendations:
∫ Keep all ladders, shovels, roof rakes and other devices well clear of any lines coming from the street to the structure, regardless of material. In extremely wet conditions, even wood can be a conductor of electricity.
∫ Start clearing snow from the opposite end of the roof away from the service point where electricity is delivered.
∫ If you are unsure of how to go about clearing snow and ice, or if your roof is particularly steep, contact a qualified roofing contractor.
∫ As snow is removed from the roof, be aware of what is below that could become buried as snow hits the ground. Be especially mindful of the location of your electricity and gas meters, as they could be damaged by falling snow and ice.
∫ If a power outage occurs, customers can notify National Grid online to expedite restoration.
∫ Never touch downed power lines. Always assume they are carrying live electricity. Downed lines should be immediately reported to National Grid at 1-800-867-5222 or to your local emergency response organization.
∫ Generators used to supply power during an outage, must be operated outdoors to prevent the buildup of carbon monoxide. Before operating a generator, be sure to disconnect from National Grid’s system by shutting off the main breaker, located in your home’s electric service panel. Failure to do this could endanger our crews and your neighbors.
∫ Customers who depend on electrically powered life support equipment, such as a respirator, should register as a life support customer by calling National Grid at 1-800-642-4272. (In a medical emergency, always dial 911.)
∫ Keep a number of working flashlights and an extra supply of batteries in your home and be sure to charge all electronic devices.
∫ Drive carefully and use caution when driving near crews working to restore power.
∫ Be sure to check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage.
National Grid offers several ways to stay informed and safe — before, during and after a storm:
∫ For real-time power outage information, online outage reporting, and in-depth storm safety information, visit the Outage Central section of our website, www.nationalgridus.com. Customers who create an online profile on our website can also sign up for email alerts.
∫ To receive text message alerts and updates from National Grid, text the word STORM to NGRID (64743).
∫ Online and text alert services can be started and stopped at the customer’s request.
∫ Other ways to stay in touch:
∫ Visit our website: www.nationalgridus.com.
∫ Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/nationalgridus.
∫ Friend us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/nationalgrid.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GTUh9pR-Ag for a video on how National Grid restores power after a major storm.