Black Hills Energy offers safety tips during severe weather

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA - TV) Black Hills Energy offers up some tips to customers on how to stay safe and be prepared during hazardous weather conditions.

Black Hills Energy Sign in April Storm

The company serves around 1.2 million customers in eight Midwestern states with lots of storm experience. Black Hills Energy employees are prepared for any weather-related service issues and necessary restoration efforts.

The utility company wants to remind customers to stay safe during severe weather conditions and offers tips to prepare customers if there are service interruptions.

"Obviously, preparation is key, so with the weather like we've had, it's not uncommon to have an outage. Have backup batteries. One thing I like to have is battery backup for your cell phone, so you can charge and you can make that emergency call if you need to as well as food and water and flashlights as well," said Black Hills Energy Director of Electric Operations Marc Eyre.

Having a battery-operated radio to hear the forecast is helpful. Here are some other key tips that Black Hills Energy provides so you can stay safe in the event of an outage:

-Never touch or attempt to pick up a fallen power line, and keep children and pets away. Assume any downed power line is energized. Do not attempt to rescue someone in contact with a power line.

-Prepare for an outage by setting up an emergency drawer or kit that's easy to access, even in the dark. Stock it with fresh batteries, a battery-powered radio and a flashlight. Avoid using candles, lanterns or oil lamps because of the fire risk. Be sure everyone in the family knows where the emergency drawer or kit is located.

-Also turn on a porch light. This will help speed the power restoration process and help Black Hills Energy quickly confirm that your power is back on without having to knock on your door or check the meter.

-Do not open your refrigerator or freezer more than necessary. Undisturbed food will remain frozen in most freezers for 12 to 48 hours.

-Because carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless and tasteless, have a carbon monoxide detector with fresh batteries installed to warn you of potentially dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

"The other thing is if you have a generator, make sure that you always have that in a well-ventilated place outdoors just so you eliminate the risk of carbon monoxide. Never run it in your basement or in the garage," Eyre said.

Being ready for safe, reliable service is the priority and crews are scheduled 24/7 to make efforts to restore your power as quickly as possible.

During extended outage situations caused by severe weather, you can find more information and updates about service restoration on their website.