March May Be Here Like A Lion, But National Grid Is Ready

By Media Relations

National Grid is urging customers to prepare for what could be a devastating late-winter storm that is forecasted to affect much of Massachusetts and Rhode Island tomorrow.  Meteorologists are calling for as much as two feet of heavy, wet snow, accompanied by high winds to impact the region for much of Tuesday.  If this scenario occurs, it could lead to power outages.

National Grid began preparing for the storm over the weekend, developing staffing plans, readying equipment and securing additional crews to help with any service interruptions.  Nearly 600 crews will be on hand in Massachusetts and Rhode Island to respond to any outages that occur, including outside crews from as far away as Michigan.  They will be supported by hundreds of others responsible for damage assessment, wires down, logistics, materials, dispatching, safety, and a host of other functions that provide critical support to the restoration process.

Employees across both states have been engaging with state and local officials to outline preparations and coordinate response plans so that the restoration can go as quickly and safely as possible.

National Grid’s emergency preparedness team continues to monitor the forecast so plans can be adapted if the scenario changes.

As National Grid prepares for this storm event, customers are urged to take advantage of today’s “calm before the storm” to prepare and take appropriate precautions as outlined below:

  • Customers in Massachusetts or Rhode Island who experience an outage should call National Grid at 1-800-465-1212 to expedite restoration.
  • Never touch downed power lines, and always assume that any fallen lines are live electricity wires. If you see one, report it immediately to National Grid or your local emergency response organization.
  • People who depend on electricity-powered life support equipment, such as a respirator, should let National Grid know. To register as a life support customer, call the company’s New England Customer Service Center at 1-800-322-3223.
  • Please drive carefully and use caution when driving near any repair crews working to restore power.
  • Be sure to check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during if they lose power.
  • Remember, it’s not safe to work in an elevated bucket during periods of increased wind gusts. Our line workers begin restoration work only when conditions are deemed safe.

Electricity & Generator Safety

  • If you use a generator to supply power during an outage, be sure to operate it outdoors. Before operating a generator, disconnect from National Grid’s system by shutting off the main breaker located in the electric service panel. Failure to do this could jeopardize the safety of line crews and the public.
  • If you lose power, turn off any appliances that were on when the power went off, but leave one light on so you will know when power is restored.

Gas Safety

  • The buildup of ice and snow around or over gas meters and vents for natural gas appliances could pose a serious safety risk. Ice and snow falling from a roof can damage gas meters or service connections to customers’ homes or businesses, resulting in a gas leak.
  • Ice and snow blocking vents could cause carbon monoxide (CO) to back up into a building and result in carbon monoxide poisoning for those inside. To avoid these dangers, National Grid advises natural gas customers to closely inspect areas around and over gas meters, service hook-ups and vents for ice and snow that could damage equipment or prevent CO from properly venting.
  • National Grid advises that you take immediate action anytime you suspect a natural gas leak:
  • Get Out – All occupants should leave the house immediately. Do not use the telephone or light switches for any reason.
  • Call Us – After leaving the house and reaching a safe environment, call the National Grid 24-hour gas emergency number:
  • In Massachusetts: 1-800-233-5325
  • In Rhode Island: 1-800-640-1595
  • Stay Out – Do not return to your home until National Grid tells you it is safe.

Carbon Monoxide

The symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to those of the flu. Depending upon the amount of CO in the air and length of exposure, symptoms may include headaches, weakness, confusion, chest tightness, skin redness, dizziness, nausea, sleepiness, fluttering of the heart or loss of muscle control. If you suspect carbon monoxide is present in your home, go outside immediately and breathe deeply; then call 911. If symptoms are severe, get medical attention.

Stay Connected to National Grid

National Grid provides multiple channels for customers to learn about service issues and interruptions during storms. Customers can follow the storm on their mobile devices by using the National Grid mobile app or texting the word STORM to NGRID (64743). The company provides real time outage information on its Outage Central web site at National Grid also provides storm and restoration updates through Facebook and Twitter.

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