Thousands of outages reported as strong winds pummel the state

Hartford

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — No one is keeping a closer eye on the upcoming storm, cold weather and winds than Eversource. They are not taking any chances and have doubled down on crews ahead of this weekend.

It starts with their supply yard, which is fully stocked and ready to go.

“Getting all of that equipment ready, the utility poles, the transformers and miles of wire that may be needed, and it’s basically all hands on deck now,” said Mitch Gross with Eversource.

Line and tree crews from out of state are already rolling toward Connecticut.

As of 8:45 a.m. on Monday, Eversource reported 6,841 outages across the state. United Illuminating reported 591 outages.

“We have hundreds of line crews and tree crews in addition to our people, ready to go to work,” Gross said.

They know the stakes are high when the temperatures are so low. They suggest packing a cold-weather go kit with canned food, water, pet food, medicine, flashlights and batteries. Also make sure cell phones are charged with back up batteries if you have them.

If you are quarantining with COVID and the lights and heat go out:

“There are local town officials to reach out to, social services. Call the state information line, 211, for information. There are other ways to go about it,” Gross said.

The cold temperatures force boilers and furnaces to work harder, upping the chances for carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be fatal.

“You’re going to get headaches, dizziness, fatigue. An over-exposure to carbon monoxide, your skin will start to turn red,” said Battalion Chief John Sokolowski with the West Hartford Fire Department.

You cannot see it or smell it. The best way to defend yourself against it is a carbon monoxide detector. Firefighters say not to put them down in the basement near the boiler or furnace because they can malfunction over time.

Place some at the top of the stairs to the basement, in living spaces, and in first or second floor hallways.

If they go off, check the batteries. If the batteries are good and it is still beeping, West Hartford fire says to call 911.

“We will come by, take our meters, run through the building and make sure you’re not having a problem. Don’t blow it off and think it’s just a bad battery. We want to make sure we’re taking a look at it so that you stay safe,” Sokolowki said.

If the power does go out, when it comes back on, the fire department recommends going to the basement and checking the breakers to make sure they did not trip at any point. That way, everything will come on, including the heat.

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