Customers urged to keep safety a priority as snow accumulates around gas and electricity equipment
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – With winter weather watches and warnings in effect across upstate New York, National Grid is closely monitoring the weather and is prepared if the forecasted heavy snowfall impacts our system. To ensure customers also are prepared, the company offers the following safety reminders regarding the hazards of snow accumulating around gas and electricity equipment.
- The buildup of ice and snow around or over natural gas meters, regulators and pipes can pose a serious safety risk. Ice and snow falling from a roof can damage gas meters or service connections to customers’ homes or businesses, resulting in potential gas leaks. Customers should take immediate action if a natural gas leak is suspected:
- Get Out – All occupants should leave the house immediately. Do not use the telephone, light switches or automatic garage door openers for any reason.
- Call Us – After leaving the house and reaching a safe environment, call National Grid’s 24-hour gas emergency number: 1-800-892-2345.
- Stay Out – Do not return to your home until National Grid tells you it is safe.
- Cleared snow should never be piled around vents. A blocked vent can lead to the buildup of deadly carbon monoxide.
- The symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to those of the flu, and can include headaches, weakness, confusion, chest tightness, skin redness, dizziness, nausea, sleepiness, heart fluttering or loss of muscle control. If you suspect carbon monoxide is present in your home, immediately go outside and breathe deeply; then call 911.
- When clearing snow, customers and snow removal contractors should be aware of the location of natural gas equipment to avoid coming in contact with meters, hitting outside gas risers, or piling snow around vents mounted on the outside of buildings, which can cause the dilemma illustrated above.
- The photos below provide a closer look at how snow and ice accumulation on roofs can place a burden on electricity service wires, also known as the weatherhead, that bring energy into the home. Those wires are live and are a potential hazard to anyone attempting to clear snow. As snow and ice melt or are otherwise removed, inspect of the connection point from a safe distance to be sure it hasn’t been pulled away from the building, creating a potential fire hazard.National Grid urges home and building owners to be especially cautious as they work to clear snow and ice by following these safety recommendations:
- Keep all ladders, shovels, roof rakes and other devices well clear of any lines coming from the street to the structure, regardless of material. In extremely wet conditions, even wood can be a conductor of electricity.
- Start clearing snow from the opposite end of the roof from the service point where electricity is delivered.
- If you are unsure of how to go about clearing snow and ice, or if your roof is particularly steep, contact a qualified roofing contractor.
- As snow is removed from the roof, be aware of what is below that could become buried as snow hits the ground. Be especially mindful of the location of your electricity and gas meters, as they could be damaged by falling snow and ice.
Additional Safety Messages
- If a power outage occurs, customers can notify National Grid online to expedite restoration.
- Never touch downed power lines; always assume they are carrying live electricity. Downed lines should be immediately reported to National Grid at 1-800-867-5222 or to your local emergency response organization.
- Generators used to supply power during an outage, must be operated outdoors to prevent the buildup of deadly carbon monoxide. Before operating a generator, be sure to disconnect from National Grid’s system by shutting off the main breaker, located in your home’s electric service panel. Failure to do this could endanger our crews and your neighbors.
- Customers who depend on electrically powered life support equipment, such as a respirator, should register as a life support customer by calling National Grid at 1-800-642-4272. (In a medical emergency, always dial 911.)
- Keep a number of working flashlights and an extra supply of batteries in your home and be sure to charge all electronic devices.
- Please drive carefully and use caution when driving near any crews working to restore power.
- Be sure to check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage.
National Grid offers several ways to stay informed and safe – before, during and after a storm:
- For real-time power outage information, online outage reporting, and in-depth storm safety information, visit the Outage Central section of our website, www.nationalgridus.com. Customers who create an online profile on our website can also sign up for email alerts.
- To receive text message alerts and updates from National Grid, text the word STORM to NGRID (64743).
- Online and text alert services can be started and stopped at the customer’s request.
- Other ways to stay in touch:
- Visit our website: nationalgridus.com
- Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/nationalgridus
- Friend us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/nationalgrid
Click here for a video on how National Grid restores power after a major storm.