SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah—More than 500 homes in South Salt Lake were without power early Wednesday morning. The outage happened around 2 a.m. and wasn’t restored until mid-morning.
Spencer Hall, a spokesperson for Rocky Mountain Power said as the temperature changes, the outages come unexpectedly.
“It’s important that people are always prepared in case of an outage, to be able to have a sweater handy,” said Hall.
The unique atmospheric conditions in Salt Lake City causes salt to come off the lake and cover their equipment. When the rain comes, Hall said the equipment becomes conductive.
Power poles can burn and tip over, causing outages.
“Sometimes outages can stretch for several hours,” said Hall. “It’s important that people have a family plan, especially in these winter months.”
What causes real problems though, said Matthew McFarland with Unified Fire Authority, is when people turn to alternative heat sources.
“Whether that means generator power and that generator is putting off exhaust, that’s a source of carbon monoxide,” said McFarland.
In 2017, McFarland said 240 people were treated in emergency rooms for carbon monoxide poisoning—two people died.
“This is a serious condition and could be deadly,” said McFarland. “It escalates quickly. There’s a good chance you’re not going to know it’s happening until it’s too late, especially if you’re asleep.”
McFarland said there are simple things people can do to make sure they’re safe and warm, power on or off:
• Have battery run carbon monoxide detectors outside bedrooms on all floors of your house
• Make sure your space heater is for indoor use
• Keep generators outside
If you’re good on all of these things, McFarland said to make sure your neighbor is okay.
“Check on those elderly people. See if they’re as well prepared as you are,” said McFarland. “We need to look out for each other this time of year, as it gets colder here in Utah.”