Winter Safety

The following fire safety tips can help you maintain a fire-safe home this winter:
  • Kerosene Heaters
    Be sure your heater is in good working condition. Inspect exhaust parts for carbon build-up. Be sure the heater has an emergency shut off in case the heater is tipped over. Never use fuel burning appliances without proper room venting. Burning fuel (kerosene, coal or propane, for example) produces deadly fumes. Use only the fuel recommended by the heater manufacturer. Never introduce a fuel into a unit not designed for that type fuel. Keep kerosene, or other flammable liquids stored in approved metal containers, in well ventilated storage areas, outside of the house. NEVER fill the heater while it is operating or hot. When refueling an oil or kerosene unit, avoid overfilling. Use caution with cold fuel for it may expand in the tank as it warms up.  Refueling should be done outside of the home (or outdoors). Keep young children safely away from space heaters -- especially when they are wearing nightgowns or other loose clothing that can be easily ignited.  When using a fuel-burning appliance in the bedroom, be sure there is proper ventilation to prevent a buildup of carbon monoxide.

  • Wood Stoves And Fire places
    Be sure the stove or fire place is installed properly. Wood stoves should have adequate clearance (36") from combustible surfaces, and proper floor support and protection. Wood stoves should be of good quality, solid construction and design, and should be UL listed. Have the chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessary, especially if it has not been used for some time. Do not use flammable liquids to start or accelerate any fire. Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fire place opening, to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out, unwanted material from going in, and help prevent the possibility of burns to occupants. The stove should be burned hot twice a day for 15-30 minutes to reduce the amount of creosote buildup. Don’t use excessive amounts of paper to build roaring fires in fireplaces. It is possible to ignite creosote in the chimney by overbuilding the fire.  Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal can give off lethal amounts of carbon monoxide.  Keep flammable materials away from your mantel. A spark from the fireplace could easily ignite these materials. Before you go to sleep, be sure your fireplace fire is out. NEVER close your damper with hot ashes in the fire
    place. A closed damper will help the fire to heat up again and will force toxic carbon monoxide into the house. If synthetic logs are used, follow the directions on the package. Never break a synthetic log apart to quicken the fire or use more than one log at a time. They often burn unevenly, releasing higher levels of carbon monoxide.

  • Furnace
    Be sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs are in proper working condition. Leave furnace repairs to qualified specialists. Do not attempt repairs yourself unless you are qualified. Inspect the walls and ceiling near the furnace and along the chimney line. If the wall is hot or discolored, additional pipe insulation or clearance may be required. Check the flue pipes and pipe seams. Are they well supported? Free of holes, and cracks? Soot along or around seams may be an indicator of a leak. Is the chimney solid? No cracks or loose bricks? All unused flue openings should be sealed with solid masonry. Keep trash and other combustibles away from the heating system.

  • Other Fire Safety Tips:
    Never discard hot ashes inside or near the home. Place them in a metal container outside and well away from the house. Never use a range or an oven as a supplementary heating devise. Not only is it a safety hazard, it can be a source of potentially toxic fumes. If you use an electric heater, be sure not to overload the circuit. Only use extension cords which have the necessary rating to carry the amp load. Avoid using electric space heaters in bathrooms, or other areas where they may come in contact with water. Frozen water pipes? Never try to thaw them with a blow torch or other open flame, (otherwise the pipe could conduct the heat and ignite the wall structure inside the wall space). Use hot water or a UL labeled device such as a hand held dryer for thawing. If windows are used as emergency exits in your home, practice using them in the event fire should strike. Be sure that all windows open easily. Home escape ladders are recommended. If there is a fire hydrant near your home you can assist the Fire Department by keeping the hydrant clear of snow so in the event it is needed, it can be located. Be sure every level of your home has a working smoke alarm, and be sure to check and clean it on a monthly basis. Contact your local Fire Department for advice if your have a question on home fire safety.

If You're Traveling This Holiday - Plan Ahead

  • Prepare Yourself & Your Vehicle
  • Be aware of changing weather conditions.
  • Keep your car in top operating condition and full of gasoline.
  • Travel by daylight and use major highways and roads.
  • Plan your trip selecting primary and alternate routes.
  • Always let a friend or family member know your plan.
  • Travel with another person or by convoy with another vehicle.
  • If Your Car Breaks Down
  • Turn on the flashers and raise the car hood.
  • Stay with the car and wait for help to arrive.
  • Avoid Traveling in Severe Weather - But If You Must...
  • Carry A Winter Storm Car Kit That includes:
  • Sleeping bags or blankets
  • Winter clothing including wool caps, mittens and overshoes
  • Non-perishable, high-calorie foods such as canned nuts or dried fruits
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Small sack of sand
  • Shovel
  • Tow chain or rope
  • Battery booster cables

When You Travel in Severe Weather

  • If a Winter Storm Traps You in Your Car:

Stay in the vehicle - do not try to walk to safety. Avoid overexertion and exposure, although do exercise from time to time. Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna and raise it high for rescuers to see. Keep a downwind window slightly open for fresh air. Do not allow the window to become sealed with snow or freezing rain.


Winter Storm Tips for Your Business

Whether your business is in a large commercial development or in your home, we understand that a power outage is difficult to cope with. Rest assured that we're doing everything we can, before and after a storm hits, to get you back in business quickly.

While Detroit Edison has a high reliability record, you never know when Mother Nature may cause a power outage. That's why it is important to develop a detailed emergency plan with defined roles for your key employees well in advance of the next severe storm.

For instance...

  • Decide who is responsible for initiating and maintaining contact with Detroit Edison during a power outage.

  • Make sure employees know when and how they will be notified of work schedule changes.

  • Find out in advance where can you obtain dry ice, temporary refrigeration or a back-up power supply if needed.

  • Determine how you will prevent data loss or sensitive electronic equipment damage.

Protect your business investment with some advance planning...

Install an emergency lighting system and the appropriate battery back-ups for emergency lighting and your security system.

Install surge suppression and uninterrupted power supply devices to protect sensitive electronic equipment.

Your phone system may not operate if power is out. Think about what alternate methods are available for handling incoming or outgoing calls.

If you plan to use a back-up power source, have an electrician permanently install the proper sized generator or the access outlet(s) and transfer switch for a temporary generator connection.

Acquaint yourself with our Storm Update feature, activated on our home page during severe storms. It’s one way you can keep track of the extent of storm damage and the progress of restoration efforts. Obviously, this may be more convenient from your home or another location with power.

If you’re working on a computer, save the data and conduct a controlled shut down to prevent data loss. You may want to program your software to save data every five-minutes.

During a severe storm...

Watch for indications of low voltage. If lights dim, computer pictures shrink, or motors hum louder, feel hotter or run slower, you’re experiencing low voltage. Shut off sensitive electronics and motor-driven equipment to avoid possible damage. Report the low voltage problem by calling 1.800.477.4747.

If you lose power...

It’s important to call 1.800.477.4747 to report your power outage. Please don’t assume we know you are without power. Your report, and those of neighboring businesses, helps us determine the scope of the problem, identify patterns and dispatch repair crews more effectively.

If you plan to shut your business down, let us know where to reach you if there are additional questions or if a repair crew needs access to your property.

Unplug motor-driven equipment and sensitive electronic equipment to prevent an electrical overload when power is restored.

Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Cover open, refrigerated cases. If power will be out for an extended time, consider leasing a refrigerated truck or contact a dry ice distributor.

If portable heaters are being used, keep them well away from flammable materials and vent them properly.

To prevent pipes from freezing, open faucets slightly so they drip constantly.

For safety’s sake...

Our power lines and equipment are built to meet all state and national safety standards and are safe under normal conditions. But when damaging winds or severe storms hit, power lines can come down.

It’s important to keep at least 10 feet away from downed wires and anything they are touching. Be especially cautious near metal fences following a severe storm. Electric current will be strongest where a downed wire is touching a metal fence, but even a connecting fence some distance away can be energized and dangerous. Report a downed power line by calling us at 1.800.477.4747.

If you are using a back-up power generator, make sure all circuits are disconnected from Detroit Edison lines. Protect your employees, your neighbors and our repair crews from the dangerous backfeed of electricity. Small business owners may find our Safely Operating Portable Generators pages helpful.

In case of flooding, disconnect power to all electrical equipment and outlets before stepping into standing water. Do not attempt to remove a fuse or turn off a circuit breaker while standing in water.

About our storm restoration plan...

To keep storm damage to a minimum and to restore your power quickly, we keep our 'weather-eye' on the sky at all times. By the time the storm reaches our area, our emergency team is already at work, implementing our Storm Response Plan.

Our top priority is to protect the health and safety of the community at large. For that reason, we first restore power to critical services such as hospitals, nursing care facilities, police and fire stations, communication facilities (radio/ TV) and sanitary pumping facilities.

Next, we restore service to remaining households and businesses, beginning with those circuits where the largest numbers of customers are without power.