Fire Officials Ask Residents To Prepare For Winter Storm & Be Ready If Power Failures Occur Again

Health Local News State News Tuesday, January 24th, 2023

With more winter weather hitting the Lake Area, fire officials are asking residents to stay prepared and safe…. especially when it comes to using supplemental heating sources like space heaters.

“You know space heaters are designed to warm a room or provide supplemental heat to a room….they’re not designed to be your primary heat source” says Mid-County Fire Chief Scott Frandsen, “Some of these heaters can be dangerous. The newer ones have safety features…they’ll turn off if they get knocked over, but some of the older ones don’t have that. They all use a lot of juice, which is why we always say you should never use an extension cord on them and finally…if you put them near something combustible, it will catch fire.”

Frandsen says if you do have to use a space heater, use common sense on where it’s being used and make sure that you don’t run in 24-7.

In addition to that, he’s also cautioning residents to be prepared in case of another round of power outages due to damage to the power lines from the heavy snow…

“One of the most critical things we deal with during a power outage is people start firing up their generators. And when it’s cold outside, these things don’t want to run…so people will put them inside their garage instead” says Frandsen, “Well…that’s putting out carbon monoxide and it’s getting into the house…suddenly, everyone’s getting headaches and dizzy and their skin is turning red…things like that. You can’t smell it, you can’t taste it….it will take you out in a hurry.”

He says it’s best to keep your generators outside and at a safe distance from your home, or skip them altogether and go somewhere else…“It’s just good common sense….if your power is out, go to some other place…go to a warming center, at least until they can get the power turned back on.”

During the last snowstorm some 3 or 4 thousand customers were without power throughout the lake area, of which many didn’t see that power restored for nearly 12 to 15 hours.

Fire officials Lake Wide also want to remind residents to be a bit patient as they try to respond to emergency calls…”

Mid-County Fire Chief Scott Frandsen tells KRMS News one of the major issues for them in the cold weather is equipment freezing up during a call…”You know these weather conditions are burial sometimes…..not just for our residents, but also for our firefighters who have to go out and deal with these issues in these conditions” says Frandsen, “You know we are a rural water department…so we have to use what they call fold-it tanks…so those are portable tanks we set out, we dump our tankers into. Well, we’ve had those freeze up to a point that sometimes we’ll have to leave them at the fire scene….we’ve had our pumps, lines and hoses freeze up….our bunker gear we are wearing? You know, when we come out of the fire they’re so frozen they can stand straight up. It’s frozen solid!”

Frandsen says in order to combat these issues, they’ll take a bit more time on the scene and often will rotate shifts for firefighters more frequently to allow them to warm up after a call.

Health Local News State News Tuesday, January 24th, 2023

Reporter John Rogger