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Winter Weather, Power Outages: Public Safety Reminders

Posted on 1/25/2010

January 25, 2010701-328-8100

BISMARCK, ND - On Jan 22, 2010, Gov. John Hoeven issued a snow emergency order activating all state resources in response to severe weather that began last week and is forecasted to continue into this week.

These include resources of the Department of Emergency Services, National Guard, Department of Transportation, Highway Patrol, Department of Human Services, Department of Health, State Water Commission and other agencies with emergency response functions.

North Dakota is experiencing brutal winter conditions, marked by precipitation, freezing temperatures and high winds. These weather conditions have contributed to power outages all across the state, in the form of downed power lines and poles. These same conditions have also impeded repair progress. Electric Utility Companies and Co-ops are working hard to restore power to affected customers.

"Our number one concern is the safety of North Dakotans. We urge take the following steps to ensure their safety," said Greg Wilz, N.D. Division of Homeland Security Director.


A "No Travel Advisory" has been issued for the entire state. If you must leave your home/business due to power outage, please ensure that you have a clear destination in mind, and your vehicle has a complete winter survival kit (blankets, food, water, extra warm clothing, etc.) in the event you become stranded while trying to reach shelter. Remember that exposed skin can quickly lead to frost-bite.


Please report downed power lines to your local power company or call 911 - never approach them.


If your home or business is affected by an extended power outage during a period of freezing weather, please consider following precautions:

Never use generators, ovens, grills, or other gasoline-, propane-, or charcoal-burning devices inside your home, garage, or carport or near doors, windows, or vents. They produce carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas that can be lethal to humans and pets. If using gas or wood-burning fireplaces, ensure they are properly ventilated.

Do not use any generator hooked directly to your home unless it has been installed by a licensed electrical contractor. Improper generator hooked up to homes, can endanger the lives of residents and utility employees working to restore power. NEVER PLUG a generator into a wall outlet as serious injury can result of this action due to current fed back into electrical lines.

Instead, connect lights and appliances directly to generators not hooked directly to structure's electrical system by a licensed electrician.


Over the next few days, there may be situations where individuals may choose to evacuate to shelters, family or friends. Please be aware that insurance policies generally require steps to prevent damage from occurring. Generally, this means maintaining heat when possible and/or shutting off and draining water systems. If these steps are not taken, residents would potentially not have coverage for subsequent freezing damage. The best solution is for a licensed plumber to winterize your home. If a plumber is not available, shut off water outside of your home/business if possible at the "stop box" or "well". Shut off power or gas to your water heater and drain it and all water lines. Winterize all appliances using water per manufacturer's instructions (water heaters, refrigerators, dehumidifiers, clothes and dish washers). If your electrical fuse panel has been submerged by water, tell your power company to shut off your electricity immediately and call a licensed electrical contractor.


Be sure to take your medications with you and make provisions for your pets.

Have a full tank of gas in your vehicle and charged cell phone, batteries for radios and flashlights.

Contact your county emergency manager for details on available shelters and for other information.

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More tips and information on the web at:

North Dakota Department of Emergency Services - www.nd.gov/des
North Dakota Department of Transportation Road Conditions - www.dot.nd.gov
North Dakota Department of Health - www.ndhealth.gov
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - www.bt.cdc.gov

This site updated as of 10/20/2017.