Storm preparation for the St. Louis area
We have a huge winter storm bearing down on us over the next several days. There is a chance you could lose power because of the ice and snow accumulation.
Here are some tips on what you can do if you lose power:
1. Check to make sure you don't have a blown circuit or fuse. Check the circuit breakers or fuses in your home's electrical panel.
2. If the power is out in your entire neighborhood, call your local utility company to report the outage. Call Ameren Missouri at 1-800-552-7583. Call Ameren Illinois at 1- 800-755-5000. You can also find safety information, outage information and other important phone numbers by accessing www.Ameren.Mobi with your mobile device. To contact Cuivre River Electric about an outage, call 1-800-392-3709.
3. If power is out over a widespread area, it may take a longer time to restore power everywhere.
4. Unless there is an emergency, do not call 9-1-1. That number should ONLY be used if there is an emergency, or if someone is injured or in danger.
5. If there are power lines down in your neighborhood, do call 9-1-1 and call your utility company. Do not go near downed power lines. Contact Ameren Missouri at 1-800-552-7583 or Ameren Illinois at 1-800-755-5000 when you see downed power lines, experience an outage or suspect a natural gas leak. Be prepared to provide any details, such as unusual noises, flickering lights, or anything else you notice.
6. Listen to your battery-powered radio or TV, especially for news at the top of each hour, to find out when the power might be restored.
7. Consolidate your living area around a fireplace or alternate heat source. Block off doorways to keep the heat contained to a smaller area.
8. Dress to stay warm - wear layers, including a sweater, sweatshirt or even a jacket. You lose heat through your hands and the top of your head. Wear gloves or mittens and a knit hat.
9. Avoid opening your refrigerator and freezer as much as possible. Food inside should stay cold for hours if the door is left closed.
10. If you're cold, take a warm shower - to increase your body temperature. Your hot water tank, even if electric, will stay warm for a few hours.
11. Unplug some of your major appliances. When the power comes back on, all of those appliances can create a drain or power surge. This can harm sensitive equipment. To avoid a power surge when the electricity returns, turn off computers, TVs, stereos and other unnecessary electronic equipment at the power source. Leave a light on so you'll know when the power is restored.
12. If you have a generator, do not connect it to your home's power system unless it has been properly installed and disconnects you from the main power grid when it is operating. If you do not disconnect from the power grid, you can be sending electricity back down the lines; not just to your home. That could be deadly for power company workers.
13. If you have a regular wood stove or fireplace, you can use it for heat. However, DO NOT USE kerosene heaters, BBQs, or any outdoor type heater inside. Such devices create poisonous gases such as carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas given off by combustion and could kill.
14. Check on your elderly neighbors or those who may have medical conditions or use medical machinery that operates on electricity. Make sure they are dressed warmly. If someone needs to have machinery that operates on electricity, move them to a place where electricity is working.
15. If you have to go out, drive carefully. Remember that traffic signals may be out during a power outage. Consider each intersection to be a four-way stop and drive defensively.