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Power outages in east Idaho continue

By Bre Clark
Published On: Dec 16 2013 09:53:53 PM CST

Power outages have eastern Idahoans worried and frustrated.

AMMON, Idaho -

People in east Idaho are fed up with Rocky Mountain Power after another power outage this past weekend. Many are taking matters into their own hands by purchasing generators, but experts are finding that people aren't using them safely. Action Motor Sports General Manager Joe McKnight said people often use generators without the proper knowledge.

"Obviously, you don't want it running inside or in your garage without the doors open. You want it outside where there is some fresh air. You can have an electrician come to put in a separate panel to run things in your home that are important. It will have a separate switch to shut itself on and off so it's safe," said McKnight.

McKnight said if people don't operate generators properly, they could get carbon monoxide poisoning. Still, some people without generators said frustration can quickly turn to devastation when the power goes out.

At Gables Assisted Living, they pride themselves on keeping their residents comfortable. After the series of blackouts, Plant Operations Manager Mike Stodder said it's been hard to hold true to those standards.

"It would have been nice to have a heads-up," said Stodder.

Stodder said there should have been a warning that their elderly occupants would have to leave their comfortable rooms and huddle around a fireplace for hours -- hours in the cold that the director of nursing, Tammy Hall, said could have become deadly.

"The cold or flu or anything like that could be devastating in this age group," she said.

With heaters fried from the surge and at 20 degrees below zero, Hall said sickness would have been inevitable. Sickness was not the only threat.

"Some of our people are on oxygen concentrators, which of course are run by electricity," said Hall. "Had it been longer, it would have been a very big problem."

Managers said many of their portable heaters were destroyed, so they are planning to file a claim with Rocky Mountain Power to help with those costs.

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