How to prepare for and deal with power outages

RAPID CITY, S.D. — On Wednesday Black Hills Energy announced power outages have impacted about 4,900 customers in the Black Hills as a result of heavy snowfall and high wind conditions. The company says it’s important for people to be prepared in the event that they lose power.

Communities impacted by the outages include Custer, Silver City, Hill City, Keystone, Deadwood, Spearfish and Sturgis. There have also been some minor, isolated power outages in Rapid City and Piedmont since Tuesday.

Residents can prepare for a power outage by following these safety guidelines:

  1. Never touch or attempt to pick up a fallen power line, and keep children and pets away. Assume any downed power line is energized and dangerous.
  2. Do not attempt to rescue someone in contact with a power line. If you see a downed power line, call our emergency number 800-694-8989 or 911 immediately.
  3. Prepare for an outage by setting up an emergency drawer or kit that is easy to access, even in the dark. Stock it with fresh batteries, a battery-powered radio and a flashlight. Avoid using candles, lanterns or oil lamps because of the fire risk. Be sure everyone in the family knows where the emergency drawer or kit is located.
  4. If any family members are on oxygen or other support measures, make a plan today to get them to a location where their needs can be met if electric service is interrupted. In addition, please contact us at 888-890-5554 to make sure we are aware that a life-support system exists at your home.
  5. Unplug sensitive computer and electronic equipment, or protect them with a high-quality surge protector.
  6. Leave a lamp or electric radio on so you know when service is restored.
  7. Also, turn on a porch light. This will help speed our power restoration process, as we will be able to confirm quickly that your power is back on without knocking on your door or checking the meter.
  8. Do not open your refrigerator or freezer more than necessary. Undisturbed food will remain frozen in most freezers for 12 to 48 hours.
  9. Do not use charcoal grills to heat your home or cook indoors. Dangerous carbon monoxide fumes can build up and cause injury or death.
  10. If you use a portable generator, follow the manufacturer’s safety and operating guidelines. Be sure to operate the generator in a well-ventilated area. Never operate it indoors or in your garage. Again, dangerous carbon monoxide fumes can build up and cause injury or death.
  11. Because carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless and tasteless, have a carbon monoxide detector with fresh batteries installed to warn you of potentially dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

Black Hills Energy says crews have been working on restoration efforts since early Wednesday morning, and plan to continue working through the early evening and next few days.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News

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