EL PASO - The Texas Division of Emergency Management says the impending storm is one thing. Preparing for the ice afterward is another.
When severe ice storms strike in Texas, the power may be out for several days. Take precautions after the storm as you wait for power to be restored. Here are some safety tips:
• Generators and other fuel-powered devices should never be operated inside a home or an enclosed space, such as a garage. Unsafe practices could result in a build-up of deadly carbon monoxide fumes. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. If anyone in your home experiences these symptoms, step outdoors, ventilate the area and dial 9-1-1.
• Report power outages. Turn off electrical appliances that were operating at the time power went off, including your heating system. Leave one light on, so that you will know when service has been restored.
• Power lines weighted with ice may be down or touching other objects, an extremely dangerous situation. Contact with power lines can charge cables, chain link fences and even tree limbs with electricity. Power lines can electrify a fence line throughout an entire neighborhood. Contact your power company for assistance.
• Many people are injured each year by falling tree branches after any kind of severe storm. Ice storms are no exception. Heavy ice can make tree limbs and trees themselves unstable. Be safe. Wait until the thaw and call a tree care specialist.
• Refrain from driving on icy roads. If you must travel, drive slowly and increase your stopping distance. Watch for downed trees and power lines across roads. If power fails, treat all intersections as four-way stops. Pack blankets, water, food items and a phone to take with you.
• Keep a fire extinguisher nearby and be cautious with fire. Keep candle flames at least three feet away from cardboard, wood and other combustible objects. Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets, and extinguish flames before leaving a room or falling asleep.