Entergy, DEMCO “prepared” for winter weather

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – Representatives from DEMCO and Entergy say they are ready for any winter weather that may hit Louisiana.

David Freese, a spokesman for Entergy, said crews have been working to prepare power lines for the freezing rain expected in the coming days.

“We try to go out and inspect critical lines,” said Freese. “Those would be feeders that serve critical infrastructure like hospitals. So, they’ll do those patrols, they’ll also do tree trimming throughout the year, not just the day before or the weeks leading up, in order to minimize any potential damage we have to our facility due to falling limbs.”

Crews were near Woman’s Hospital working on lines Thursday, Jan. 20.

David Latona with DEMCO said the Co-op has worked to upgrade its grid after last year’s storms left power lines mangled.

“It’s a case where a particular piece of equipment could be placed in an area that would be more resilient, we would do so,” said Latona. “It’s just that in cases where vegetation changes and the area may change, developments may change or go away, it enables us to build back in an area that may be more resilient to a storm.”

Despite the upgrades, Freese and Latona said ice can wreak havoc on power lines, and outages are possible.

To best be prepared, Entergy issued a list of tips to get ready.

For your home:

  • winterize your home by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic. Clear rain gutters. Repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.
  • insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic. Allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
  • Keep fire extinguishers on handand make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them.
  • Take care with alternate heating sources. During cooler months, house fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking necessary safety precautions.
  • Learn how to shut off water valves in case the pipe bursts.
  • Have a licensed contractor check the structural liability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight caused from the accumulation of snow or water.

Make a plan:

  • Designate one or more out-of-town contacts. These people may be reached more easily and can relay messages to your family members if you become separated during or after the storm. Check with your emergency contacts beforehand to make sure they are willing and able to assist you in an emergency.
  • Important phone numbers. Be sure every member of your family knows the phone numbers to call your emergency contacts. If you have a cellphone for each family member, program your emergency contacts’ phone numbers in as “ICE” (In Case of Emergency). Emergency personnel often check your ICE listings in order to reach someone you know. Make sure to tell your family and friends that you’ve listed them as emergency contacts.
  • Learn to text message. Often times a text message can get around network disruptions when voice communications cannot. Knowing how to send and receive text messages can be an important way to communicate with loved ones.
  • Decide to stay or go. Before the storm approaches, decide whether you’ll stay where you are or evacuate. You should understand and plan for both possibilities. If you evacuate, you may need several possible destinations to travel to depending on where the storm is headed and should plan accordingly. A mandatory evacuation is just that–mandatory. However, use common sense in reaching your decision. Remember in an emergency, local authorities may not immediately be able to provide information on what’s happening and what you should do. Radio, TV and the internet may provide you with official information as it becomes available to help you decide if there is an immediate danger.
  • Know the plan at work or school. Find out about emergency plans at places where your family spends time: work, day care and school. If there are no plans, then consider volunteering to help create one.

Make a kit:

  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both.
  • Cellphone with charger, inverter or solar charger.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries.
  • First aid kit with emergency reference material, such as a first aid book.
  • Complete change of clothing including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container.
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.
  • Personal hygiene items including feminine supplies.
  • Matches in a waterproof container.
  • Paper towels, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils or mess kits.
  • Cash or traveler’s checks and change.
  • Paper and pencil.
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.
  • Whistle to signal for help.
  • Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place.
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper. When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, the bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  • Fire extinguisher.
  • Location maps.
  • Prescription medications and glasses.
  • Infant formula and diapers.
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet.
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children.

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