NorthWestern Energy’s top tips to know before the next winter storm

NorthWestern Energy crews work on a power outage in Bozeman on Gooch Hill Road.

BOZEMAN- The first major winter storm of the season brought power outages to thousands across the state, but NorthWestern Energy said there are a few things you should know before the next big storm.

Now that the snow has stopped falling throughout most of the state, make sure to check on any vents to make sure the snow is not blocking air flow causing a carbon monoxide build up in your home.

Also be sure to clear off snow from your home’s gas meters to make it easier for NorthWestern Energy workers to get good readings when they come by and make sure all is well with your house.

Once the next storm comes around make sure you stock up on water and nonperishable foods in your house.

Also look to get batteries and a flashlight to make yourself comfortable if your power does go out, but avoid candles because of the fire risk.

When the next storm hits, safety starts with you so don’t take the risk of going into bad weather unless you absolutely need to.

NorthWestern Energy’s Electric Operations Supervisor Ben Crossman said make sure to give crews a break with slick road conditions and slow down if you go past any crews working on power outages or downed power lines.

If you find yourself around a downed power line or accidentally slide your car into a telephone pole or power line, Crosssman said the best thing to do is stay put.

“If someone is in a vehicle, make sure they stay in the vehicle unless it’s absolutely necessary that they get out, that’s actually the safest place for them in the vehicle,” Crossman said. “If they do need to get out have them jump with both feet together, land as far away from the car as they can and then hop away from the car.”

Crossman said you can also shuffle away but if you take large steps, you could conduct electricity from one leg at one voltage to another leg at another voltage, which increases the potential for severe injury or even death.

“Basically you just want to treat all of those power lines like they’re energized even if it does appear to have insulation on it you don’t know what the quality of that insulation is, if it’s been compromised or anything like that, stay clear, stay back, give us a call, if it’s a motor vehicle accident obviously you can call 9-1-1 and they’ll call us,” Crossman said.

Even more safety tips and information on NorthWestern Energy can be found here.

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