In what started out being called the second largest power outage in Kentucky's history, but now being the largest in their history, 525,000 people in Kentucky were left powerless after a massive ice storm covered the state. Ice, snow, sleet and rain blanketed the area and cold air near the surface turned everything around into a state-wide skating rink. Trees and power lines were a sitting duck and they couldn't support the weight of the added ice. Many tree limbs came tumbling down on nearby cars, homes, and power lines. With temperatures to remain below freezing until the weekend, power official see a slow-go on restoring nearly half of the state's power grid to a functional state once again.
This loss of power has forced many from their homes and yet others to rely on portable heaters to warm their homes and generators to power them. These devices can be life savers in times of need, but they can also be very dangerous if you don't use them safely. Being prepared for an ice storm is so much easier than trying to find a solution after it happens. I mean, think about it. It is so much nicer to make portable generator connections, get the gas needed to run a generator, test it out, and figure out which circuits need to run before you actually need them. Being prepared, instead of trying to do everything in the dark, under adverse conditions, and then having to drive to a gas station to get gas, only to find out the power is out there and you can't pump the gas that you need, is a much better plan.
About a month ago, the middle part of the US encountered the same type of ice storm. Residents in Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa took a direct hit. Power outages were widespread with some very cold weather conditions hanging around to hamper utility company efforts to restore power. The ice storm dumped more than one inch of ice in some places and trees and power lines just couldn't handle the weight. Some places looked like a tornado had hit, with trees and power lines on top of homes, cars, and roads. This was just one of the top three natural disasters that happened in 2008.
Along with downed power lines comes electrocution hazards. Stay away from downed power lines at all costs! If you vehicle happens to come in contact with a live power line and the car stalls, stay in the car and call for help. Only if the car is on fire and as a last resort should you try to get out of te car. Getting out safely is the trouble. you'll have to jump from the floorboard of the car away from the car without touching something like the door on your way out. I assure you, it's not as easy as you think. Try it sometime on a nice day just in case you ever have to use this life-saving technique.
Generator safety is critical for your family's safety and the utility company's linemen as well. You see, if you hook up a generator and back-feed power down the line to an unsuspecting lineman, you may injure or even kill him. Besides the fine and or imprisonment you'll likely receive, how you'd ever live with yourself after such a stupid move is beyond me. Practice smart electrical safety when installing or connecting anything electrical related in and around your home. This ice storm is temporary, so slow down and do it right! You want to be around to live another day.