Utica, NY (WIBX) - With Hurricane Sandy bearing down on central New York, National Grid is offering a list of safety tips to customers who are preparing for possible power outages, and information on how to stay safe if you are affected.

Be prepared for not lights or electricity:

  • 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.
  • Also, post National Grid’s emergency outage reporting number — 1-800-867-5222 — near your telephone so it will be handy if needed. National Grid provides real-time outage information, including the option to report an outage at www.nationalgridus.com in the Outage Central section of the company web pages.

National Grid offers the following tips for customers to minimize inconvenience and maximize safety in the event that storm-related power interruptions do occur:

  • Never touch downed power lines, and always assume that any fallen lines are live electric wires. If you see one, report it immediately to National Grid or your local emergency response organization.
  • If you use a generator to supply power during an outage, be sure to only operate it outdoors. Before operating generators, be sure to disconnect from National Grid’s system by shutting off the main breaker located in the electric service panel. Failure to do this could jeopardize crew safety.
  • If you lose power, turn off any appliances that were on when the power went off, but leave one light on so you will know when power is restored.
  • 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. To register as a life support customer, call the company’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-642-4272.
  • National Grid customers who experience outages should call National Grid’s outage line at 1-800-867-5222 immediately to expedite restoration.
  • Check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage period.

Gas Safety:

  • National Grid asks that you be on high alert for gas service interruptions caused by severe flooding.
  • If you have no gas service or if you smell natural gas, contact us as soon as possible at 1-800-892-2345
  • Do not turn off the gas meter even in the event of an evacuation. The gas meter should be left on to maintain proper pressure in the gas piping within the house and to prevent water from entering the lines should flooding occur. Most gas appliances have safety valves that shut off the flow of gas automatically if the pilot light goes out.
  • If your appliances have been in contact with water, please contact a licensed plumbing or heating contractor to make sure the appliances are safe to operate.
  • If we have shut your gas service off for safety reasons, please contact a licensed plumbing or heating contractor before contacting National Grid. The licensed plumbing or heating contractor will make sure that your service is safe to restore.
  • Don’t forget to check outdoor appliances, such as pool heaters and gas grills.
  • Listen for important announcements on television and radio from emergency officials about possible evacuations or other emergency procedures.

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