Don’t Be Caught Unprepared
BY MELANIE BUCK –
As many of Mena’s residents awoke to a surprise snow on Thursday morning, it became a sure sign that winter is in full swing. Although much of Polk County only saw rain, Mena received an inch of snow between 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Even though the county has had a couple of cold snaps, it has been a relatively mild winter thus far with temperatures reaching 60 degrees on Wednesday with sunny skies.
The white blanket of snow came with cooler temperatures on Thursday, although ironically, Mena didn’t fall below the freezing mark. After five full hours of large flakes, temperatures rose to a high of 46 degrees and by nightfall, the snow was gone as quickly as it came. Throughout the first snow of 2015, roads remained only wet, and no weather related traffic difficulties were noted by officials.
With winter weather, power outages become more likely. To stay prepared, keep these numbers handy: SWEPCO – 888-218-3919; Rich Mountain Electric – 479-394-4140; Southwest Arkansas Electric – 866-229-8474; Choctaw Electric – 800-780-6486.
In addition to being prepared to call for power outages, you should also be prepared to ‘sit it out.’
Before an outage occurs be prepared by: checking batteries in flashlights and radios; keep plenty of candles; have an alternative source of heat, for example, a wood burning stove or gas fireplace, and always make sure the room is well ventilated; in freezing weather, in addition to wrapping your pipes, leave the furthest faucet from the pump (or meter) dripping, and learn how to shut off water valves in case of a leak; keep jugs of water on-hand for drinking and cooking; have an alternate source to prepare and cook food.
During an outage: dress in layers, including a hat and mittens, to retain heat and use less alternative fuel; do not open your refrigerator or freezer unless absolutely necessary, try to take advantage of the cold and find a way to keep your groceries outside in a snowdrift or a cooler; unplug major appliances to insure they don’t suffer from a power surge when the electric comes back on.
Another important thing to remember is to check on your neighbors. Not everyone has the knowledge or the resources to make it safely through an outage. And lastly, use the time to take a trip back in time… look through old photos, play a board or card game with the family, and enjoy the slower pace for a day or two.
© D&L Publishing, LLC | The Polk County Pulse