SOUTH UTAH (ABC4) – Amid high winds and increased fire danger, power could be cut in southern Utah this weekend.

Earlier this week, Rocky Mountain Power informed residents of Iron and Washington counties that power outages were possible. This is a proactive measure to mitigate the risk of forest fires in hazardous weather conditions. This includes low humidity, dry vegetation and sustained high winds, as well as high counts on major weather indices.

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Rocky Mountain Power says it is taking extra safety precautions by directing catering staff and additional resources to monitor the impact of weather conditions on the system. In the event of a power failure, employees will inspect lines and facilities for safety before restoring power. This could lead to longer outages.

The Utah Emergency Management Division said Rocky Mountain Power could cut power in southern Utah this weekend, primarily in Iron and Washington counties, as high winds and the fire danger remains within the forecast.

Customers will be notified prior to power outages, but should be prepared in case this should occur.

State officials offer the following tips on what to do in the event of a power outage and blackout:

To prepare
  • Have a preparedness kit for any type of emergency. Include items like a flashlight, non-perishable food, manual can opener, bottled water, blankets, battery-powered radio, clock, and extra batteries.
  • If you or someone you know has medical equipment that requires electricity, make sure you have a back-up system and a plan of action in case of an outage or emergency.
In the event of a power failure
  • Check fuses and circuit breakers – if the outage is not caused by something in your home or business, contact your electrical service provider.
  • Avoid opening refrigerators and freezers, they will keep food and perishables inside cold longer if left unopened. A full freezer should be able to keep food frozen and safe for about two days when closed.
  • In cold weather, wear several layers of clothing. Blankets and towels around windows and doors can trap heat.
  • Do not use kerosene or propane heaters indoors without adequate ventilation, as they can create dangerous fumes. Do not use charcoal in your home or garage.
  • Protect the pipes from freezing by wrapping them in insulation and allowing the faucets to drip.
  • Turn on your porch light when the power is back on. This lets crews know the failure has been resolved.
Using a generator
  • Make sure it’s wired correctly for your home or business, and don’t connect it directly to your main fuse box or circuit board.
  • Do not plug it into an outlet.
  • If you are providing temporary power to your home’s wiring system, the generator must be connected through an approved transfer switch isolating your home from the electrical utility system. The switch must comply with the National Electrical Code and local building codes. These include permits, inspection and installation by a licensed electrician.
  • To temporarily power a device, plug it directly into the generator.
  • Use properly sized and grounded extension cords. Keep the cords hidden so you don’t trip over them.
  • Vent your portable generator. Gasoline generators produce carbon monoxide and the fumes can be fatal.
  • Make sure that the total electrical load of your generator does not exceed the generator rating.
Do you see a downed line?
  • Stay away from all downed power lines and utilities. You must treat each wire as dangerous and under tension, even if it does not produce sparks.
  • Keep everyone out of the area, including pets, and immediately report the broken line to the local power company.
  • Do not touch a person or object touching a power line. Call 911 immediately if anyone comes in contact with a live power line or has been injured by electrical contact.
  • Do not drive on broken power lines.
  • If a power line falls on your car and you are inside, stay inside until help arrives and it is safe. You will probably avoid electric shock as long as you are inside the car. If you need to escape, jump from the open vehicle with both feet together and continue to jump with both feet together. Do not touch the vehicle once you are in contact with the ground. Warn others to stay at least 30 feet from the vehicle until officials from the power company arrive.
Stay safe indoors
  • Keep devices away from water. Always make sure your hands are dry when using them.
  • Make sure outlets near water sources are equipped with properly functioning ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to shut off power in time and prevent serious injury. GFCIs should be used in bathrooms, garages, near kitchen sinks, and outdoors. If your outlet has red and black “test” and “reset” buttons, it has a GFCI.
  • Repair or replace an appliance if the cord is frayed.
  • Childproof taken.
  • Use extension cords wisely.
  • Use three-prong plugs only in three-prong sockets. Never remove a prong from the three prong plugs – the third prong grounds the electricity and is there for safety.
Stay safe outdoors
  • Pay attention to the location of all overhead power lines. Always keep yourself and anything you handle at least 10 feet from overhead power lines.
  • Make sure you “call before you dig” – call 211 to contact Blue Stakes of Utah or the underground utility locator in your area.
  • Use power tools only in dry weather.
  • Never sit, play, or dig near pedestal-mounted transformers (the green metal boxes most commonly found in neighborhoods and parks). Never force them to open them. If you find one that has been unlocked or damaged, immediately call Be Ready Utah at 1-888-221-7070.
  • In the winter, don’t forget to watch the power lines when cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Deep snow accumulations can get you a touching distance from some overhead lines.
Protect children outside
  • Never climb on utility poles, transmission towers, or substation fences. If a tree is near a power line, don’t build forts or climb into them.
  • Fly kites away from power lines – if a kite gets caught in a power line, release the rope immediately.

Be sure to stay up to date with the most accurate Utah forecast from your Pinpoint Weather team at abc4.com/weather.



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