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Ice storm looms

With apologies to Jerry Butler, the ice man, indeed, cometh. Lamar County is under a winter storm watch. Currently, snow is forecast to begin at about 9 p.m. Sunday with heavy snow overnight. On Monday, the snow may turn to freezing rain that could last all day. Take the appropriate precautions. ”We are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst,” Southern Rivers spokesperson Erin Cook reported Saturday. Freezing rain and sleet cause multiple problems with power poles and lines. The addition of high winds adds to the risk of outages. SRE customers who experience an outage should call 770.358.1383 once. The outage management system uses caller ID to let the dispatcher know where the outage is located. Once the outage has been reported, it is not necessary to call back multiple times. ”We are prepared. We have all the necessary equipment and plenty of fuel. Our trucks are stocked and ready to roll. All our crews are on standby. All utilities have a mutual aid agreement in the event of a major outage but they usually call on their closest neighbors for help and in this situation, those neighbors will likely be dealing with their own outages. So if help is needed at SRE, it will come from out of town so it may take some time for additional crews to get here depending on where they’re located and how bad the roads are,” Cook added. Cook also offered up these tips from ’¢Use extreme caution when using an alternate heating source such as a fireplace, propane space heater, or wood stove’”may be used. Keep them away from anything flammable like curtains, furniture, blankets, etc. ’¢Plan to stay in an area of the home where the alternate heat source is located. ’¢Fuel- and wood-buring heating sources should be vented. Be sure to follow manufacturer’s directions. ’¢Make sure carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors are working properly. ’¢Do not use a gas-powered oven for heating. A gas oven may go out or burn inefficiently, leading to carbon monoxide poisoning. ’¢Do not use a gas or charcoal grill inside the home. Do not use charcoal briquettes in the fireplace. ’¢If you use a portable generator to power a heating source, be sure the generator is located outside your house for proper ventilation. Do not use a generator in an attached garage. Follow manufacturer’s directions for operating the generator. ’¢Take special care not to overload a generator. Use appropriately sized extension cords to carry the electric load. Make sure the cords have a grounded, three-pronged plug and are in good condition. ’¢Essentials to keep on hand: Blankets, Matches, First Aid Kit and instruction manual, Multipurpose, dry-chemical fire extinguisher, Flashlight, Battery-powered radio, clock/watch, Extra batteries, Non-electric can opener. ’¢Never connect generators to power lines. The reverse flow of electricity can electrocute an unsuspecting lineman. ’¢Keep a supply of food that requires no cooking or refrigeration such as bread, crackers, cereal, canned foods, and dried fruits. ’¢Remember baby food and formula if you have young children. Keep freezer and refrigerator closed as much as possible. Only open when necessary. ’¢Water: In case water pipes freeze or rupture, keep a supply of tap water or purchase bottled water. The recommended amount of water to keep is 5 gallons per person. If you’re on a well, fill up a bathtub or melt ice/snow for flushing toilets. Check back often for information on school closings and possible power outages.

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