Severe Weather Safety Tips

June 9, 2011 Updated Jun 9, 2011 at 4:04 PM EDT

By WKBW News

...

Severe Weather Safety Tips

June 9, 2011 Updated Jun 9, 2011 at 4:04 PM EDT

ALBANY, NY (WKBW)--

"We are closely monitoring the forecasts and making plans to address any issues that might arise," said Ken Daly, President, National Grid New York. "By taking a few simple precautions, people can significantly reduce the potential safety risks that come with extreme weather. We also want our customers to know that if severe storms do affect our area, we will be prepared and ready to restore power as quickly and safely as possible."

Tips to Prepare for Severe Storms

Summer thunderstorms are usually accompanied by high winds and lightning, major causes of local electrical service interruptions. It's a good idea to have a number of working flashlights, at least one battery-operated radio and an extra supply of batteries in your home. A radio is a good way to stay in touch, as National Grid provides news media with timely information regarding service restoration efforts.

Power outages should be reported to National Grid at 1-800-867-5222. Post this number near your telephone so it will be handy if needed. Outage information is also available at www.nationalgridus.com. At the site, click on "New York," and then click on "Outage Central." Information on the website is updated every few minutes, and includes estimated restoration times for specific communities.

Power problems can sometimes interrupt public water supply systems or disable well pumps, so it's an especially good idea to keep a supply of bottled drinking water handy, as well as some canned food.

People who depend on electric-powered life support equipment, such as a respirator, should let National Grid know. Registered life support customers receive special information on how to plan for emergencies and are advised in advance if electrical system maintenance work will affect their service. To register as a National Grid life support customer, call the company's Customer Service Center at 1-800-642-4272.

If you see a downed power line on your street, report it to National Grid and your local emergency response organization. Even though you may see no sparking or arcing, assume all downed power lines are energized and dangerous. Do not go near any wires you see on the ground and keep children and pets indoors until the problem is fixed.

Tips to Avoid Heat Stress

Just as extreme cold temperatures can cause serious health problems, hot weather can lead to heat-related illnesses, especially for the elderly, young children and those with chronic illnesses.

Prolonged temperatures of 90°F or above, accompanied by high humidity, can cause the body's temperature to rise and place a strain on the heart and blood vessels-the most important parts of the body's natural cooling system. This heat stress can result in serious illness, heart failure or a stroke.

Hot and humid weather leaves most people feeling uncomfortable, often with a loss of energy and appetite. These are mild signs of heat stress, and unless they get worse or last for many days, there is no need to become overly concerned.

There are a number of simple things you can do to avoid the dangers of heat stress:

Stay in a cool place. If your home does not have air conditioning, spend as much time as possible in a public air-conditioned place such as a shopping mall, library, church, movie theater or senior center.
Take cool baths or showers. Taking a cool bath or shower, and allowing the air to dry you, can provide quick relief from the heat.
Use a fan. Fans can draw cool air into your home at night and provide air circulation during the day. Keep drapes closed when windows are in direct sunlight. Install window locks so that your windows can be left open for ventilation but kept secure against intruders.
Dress for coolness. Cotton clothing that is lightweight, loose-fitting and light-colored will be most comfortable. If you have to be in the sun, wear a wide-brimmed hat or use an umbrella.
Take it easy. Avoid prolonged, strenuous outdoor activity such as gardening, lawn mowing, exercise or recreational activities when temperatures and humidity are high.
Eat well. Despite the heat, eat a well-balanced diet. Avoid hot and heavy meals. Do any cooking during the cooler hours of the day.
Drink liquids. Don't wait until you are thirsty. Avoid alcoholic beverages and drinks that contain caffeine and salt. If you have a medical problem with body water balance, check with your doctor.
Be careful with salt. Check with your doctor before adding salt to your diet or taking salt tablets.
Keep in touch. Call a friend or family member regularly and have them call you each day. If you should develop a heat-related problem, they can help you get assistance.

Stay tuned to EWN and Accuweather for your full forecast and emergency weather alerts!