Central Maine Power Company said Nov. 25 that its utility trucks are fueled and equipped, and CMP personnel were holding pre-storm planning sessions to discuss staffing levels and storm-response plans.
“We’ve put our storm response plan into motion, and we’re watching the forecast closely,” said Gail Rice, spokesperson for Central Maine Power, in a news release. “This storm could cause considerable buildup of snow on roadways, tree limbs, and power lines. This could result in power interruptions and difficult travel, so we’re getting crews, equipment, and materials in place to respond.”
CMP is checking the availability of contract crews to assist local crews if the storm causes widespread damage, the company said. CMP is also keeping the Maine Emergency Management Agency informed on preparation efforts.
If outages occur, CMP urges customers to call the toll-free outage hotline: 1.800.696.1000.
With a major snow storm forecast on one of the busiest travel days of the year, Maine State Police are urging drivers to have themselves and their vehicles ready for the winter season. In a news release from that department, Chief of State Police Colonel Robert Williams said, “when the storm hits, the best advice is to slow down.”
Williams said four people were killed during the four-day Thanksgiving weekend last year and five people lost their lives in traffic crashes during the holiday weekend in 2012. The chief said all nine deaths were attributed to speed or driving too fast for road conditions.
Additional troopers will be working throughout the long weekend looking for aggressive and impaired drivers, and ready to assist motorists as a result of the storm.
Meanwhile, Emera Maine, the electrical utility that serves Hancock and Washington counties, as well as parts of other northern Maine counties, said it is also readying trucks, stock and personnel as crews watch for an anticipated 7 to 11 inches of heavy wet snow.
Just as the Nov. 4 storm powerfully affected the Midcoast, it also caused major damage and power outages on the eastern side of Penobscot Bay, Blue Hill Bay and down along Deer Isle.
CMP offered the following tips to prepare for the storm and stay safe and comfortable if power outages do occur.
Before a storm strikes:
Keep battery-operated flashlights and radios on hand, along with supplies of drinking water and non-perishable foods.
Make sure that smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices are fully charged.
Fill car fuel tanks.
During a power interruption:
To report a power interruption, contact CMP at 1.800.696.1000. The telephone system automatically creates a work order and sets the stage for dispatch of crews to the outage location.
When using an emergency heating source, like a wood stove, fireplace, or kerosene heater, keep fuels away from the flames and be sure to ventilate properly.
Never use grills or camp stoves indoors — they can give off dangerous gases.
Keep refrigerators and freezers closed as much as possible. Most food will last 24 hours or longer by minimizing the opening of refrigerator and freezer doors.
Hire a licensed electrician to install permanent generators and transfer switches.
Make sure portable generators are properly grounded.
Carefully read and observe all instructions in the generator’s operating manual.
Never run a generator indoors, or even in an open garage.
Do not store fuel indoors or try to refuel a generator while it’s running.
The company urges customers to use caution if they see downed lines.
“Everyone should stay clear of any downed power lines or fallen trees that may be tangled in the lines,” said Rice. “All downed lines should be considered live and dangerous. Customers should leave the clean-up to our crews, who are trained and equipped to handle these situations safely.”
CMP also reminds drivers to use caution when approaching utility crews. The working conditions are difficult, and the workers appreciate everyone’s consideration for their safety.
Additional information on storm safety and restoration, including a town-by-town listing of outages in the CMP service area with an area map, can be found on CMP’s web site at www.cmpco.com.
Reach Editorial Director Lynda Clancy at email@example.com