from staff reports
---- — As Indiana continues to experience the latest blast of frigid temperatures, NIPSCO reminds customers of important safety tips during snowy and icy conditions.
NIPSCO crews across the region will be working to ensure safe, reliable natural gas and electric service, and the company is prepared to respond to emergencies and calls throughout this event.
While NIPSCO’s gas and electric system continue to operate normally, customers should call 1-800-4NIPSCO (1-800-464-7726) if they experience any service-related issues or emergencies. To avoid safety hazards, customers should:
• Keep fresh air and exhaust vents for natural gas appliances clear — Remove snow, ice and debris to prevent equipment malfunction.
• Keep natural gas meters clear of snow and ice — Keep them visible at all times to ensure proper venting and for maintenance by NIPSCO and, if necessary, emergency responders.
• Remove snow from the meter with hands or a broom — Never use a shovel, or kick or hit the meter to break away snow or ice. If the meter is encased in ice, contact NIPSCO for assistance.
• Drive safely during icy conditions — If your car hits an electric utility pole and the power line comes down, stay inside your vehicle, unless in immediate danger, such as a fire, and contact 911. If you must exit the car, jump clear without touching metal (the car) and the ground at the same time.
• Call NIPSCO immediately if you detect natural gas — As always, if customers smell natural gas (typically a “rotten egg” smell) at any time, they should leave the area and call NIPSCO at 1-800-464-7726.
• Use caution when driving near NIPSCO employees — Residents are also encouraged to drive safely when approaching any NIPSCO field employee or contractor vehicles who may be working in the area.
If a home has an alternate heating source, such as a fireplace or space heater, NIPSCO reminds residents to be safe with these tips:
• Keep flammable items, including paper, bedding or furniture, at least three feet away from heating equipment, fireplaces and stoves.
• Place portable space heaters on a hard, level, nonflammable surface. Do not put space heaters on rugs or carpets, near bedding or drapes, and keep children and pets away.
• Look for a model that shuts off automatically if the space heater tips over. Do not use heating equipment to dry wet clothing.
• Never use the stove or oven to heat your home.
• Never leave portable heaters, wood burning stoves or fireplaces unattended. Turn them off before leaving or going to bed.
• Keep the fire in the fireplace by using a glass or metal screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
For information about electric and natural gas safety, visit NIPSCO.com/StaySafe.