I&M preparing for winter storm, encouraging customers to plan ahead

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(Photo supplied/Indiana-Michigan Power)

With weather forecasts predicting possible blizzard-like conditions over Indiana Michigan Power’s territory in the coming days, I&M is preparing crews and other resources to address possible power outages.

I&M strongly encourages our customers to make plans for the possibility of extended power outages up to and through the holiday weekend.

We all know that forecasts – especially a few days in advance – are not always proven true. But it appears there is a strong probability of high winds and heavy snow beginning Thursday night through Saturday across the areas I&M serves.

With ample snow falling and strong winds whipping up larger snow drifts, travel could be difficult – both for our customers and for I&M crews driving to restore power. We encourage our customers to plan now for the possibility of power outages. This is especially true for those who rely on electrically powered medical devices, those who have other critical needs and those with electric heat.

I&M is preparing for the storm by lining up crews and support teams as well as mutual aid from other utilities if it becomes necessary.

We remind our customers that restoring power during winter storms can be more challenging – and take more time – than storms during other seasons. Roads may be treacherous, if not impassable, impeding our crews’ ability to reach sources of outages. Temperatures and windchill factors may force crews to take warming breaks in their vehicles. Crews cannot use their bucket truck lifts during stronger winds. Some equipment may need to be de-iced before it can be repaired or replaced.

Unfortunately, the upcoming weather could disrupt the plans many of us have for the muchanticipated holiday weekend. Please plan ahead, prepare to weather a storm and emphasize the safety of yourselves, loved ones, pets and our neighbors.

If the forecasts are on target, this has the possibility of becoming the strongest storm we have seen in a number of years. Please be aware that high winds and heavy snow can quickly combine to make roads impassable. Low temperatures with below-zero wind chills can create hazards in seconds.

ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE NOW
• Follow the weather forecasts.
• Follow social and traditional media to learn of warming centers in your area.
• Have an emergency kit prepared. Items can include blankets, water, non-perishable food
(and a can-opener), flashlights, a battery-powered (or hand-cranked) radio and extra
batteries. Don’t forget medications and charging your cell phones. Have N-95 masks
available.

WINTER STORM READINESS
• Make a backup plan. Have a source for heat and power for medical devices, such as a generator with adequate fuel, or a location to go to in the event of an extended outage.
• Check on your neighbors to ask if they are prepared.
• Learn other tips for preparations online at ready.gov or IndianaMichiganPower.com/Weather

REMAIN SAFE DURING AND AFTER A STORM
• Stay away from any downed power wires and report them to I&M. You can report downed lines on our app or website, or call 911.
• When using a generator, connect all appliances directly to the generator. Don’t connect the generator’s electrical output to any home or building electrical circuits. Don’t use gaspowered generators in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces, like inside a garage or a home.
• During the frigid cold temperatures, be extremely cautious of going outside. Protect yourself against frostbite.
• If you do venture outside, be careful around debris and fences. Fallen limbs and other debris can hide downed power lines, and a downed line may be contacting a fence out of line of sight. Look around carefully.
• Trees could fall or drop limbs at any moment, hours or even days after a storm. Please
look up.
• Follow local news regarding any travel restrictions. Some roads may be impassable. If you must drive, traffic lights may not be functioning. Please use caution and be mindful of first responders and utility workers on the roadways.
• For more safety tips, visit IndianaMichiganPower.com/Weather

KEEP INFORMED IF YOUR POWER GOES OUT
• Monitor the status of any outage at your address at IndianaMichiganPower.com/App
• Sign up for text and email alerts on the app or at IndianaMichiganPower.com/Alerts
• Check on the status of outages throughout the area I&M serves at IndianaMichiganPower.com/outagemap

While I&M is hoping for the best, we are preparing for the worst – and we encourage our customers to do the same.

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