Power Outage Safety Tips - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Power Outage Safety Tips

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BILLINGS -

The wintry weather is making its way through our area. Thursday morning, it took out a power line.

Firefighters suggest you stay inside if there are downed power lines. They also recommend some steps you can take to be safe at home as well.

"During a power outage, you're using things that are more likely to start a fire, like supplemental heating," said Mike Spini, Billings fire marshal.

Spini says it's important to have a plan and an emergency kit. He cautions against using fuel-burning appliances inside.

"Anything that is a fuel-burning appliance produces carbon monoxide, so a generator would be a pretty high probable source of a lot of carbon monoxide in your house," he said.

Spini suggests using battery-operated devices like flashlights for light.

"You don't want to use your kitchen gas operated stove to heat your home," he said. "A couple reasons, one is the carbon monoxide issue again. You're burning that straight into the atmosphere and there's no venting or anything like that and then you have another source of a fire because you've got that open flame."

A wood stove can be used as a heat source, just make sure the chimney and stove are clean. You can also use a portable heater, but it must approved for indoor use.

"With anything, we want to make sure the people have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms all the time, but especially when the power's out and you're using the supplemental heating and lighting devices and such."

Firefighters say it's important to have working detectors because carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can kill. One more reason for detectors, they can help prevent major fires.

The American Red Cross also suggests checking food's temperature before eating it during a power outage. Northwestern Energy requests people to call 888-467-2669 if they see a downed power line.