Important Tips If The Lights Go Out

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Knoxville (WVLT) - Although lots of area boys and girls will have a snow day off from school Thursday, crews throughout East Tennessee are taking steps to ensure roads are passable and safe.

Volunteer TV's Gary Loe is live has a round-up of how road and utility workers are preparing for winter weather.

Roads in Bearden are in good shape right now. No precipitation is falling yet, but crews in Knox and surrounding counties are on-call and have already put in hours of preparation.

TDOT crews operating on a 24-hour schedule spread salt brine across a couple dozen East Tennessee counties to ensure roadways remain safe for travel..

"Once it goes down, it puts a thin layer of salt on the road and really keeps the initial winter precipitation from adhering to the road surface," Travis Brickey from TDOT said.

In Blount County, workers set-up temporary stations for a road treatment called "chat," a mixture of salt to melt the snow and small crushed rock to give motorists traction.

"We're stockpiling along the base of the mountains to keep the trucks from having to be on the roads so much when they're empty," said Bill Dunlap from the Blount County Highway Department said.

Sevier County crews pre-treated roads. Knoxville City crews filled more than 20 salt boxes so trucks are ready to go.

"There will be some plows mounted. Once again, we'll have to see what the event is whether we use them or not," said Bob Whetsel from the City of Knoxville.

Meantime, utility authorities recommend preparing for possible power outages by putting together a home emergency kit. Most of the items may already be around the house. The kit should include a battery powered radio, batteries, a flashlight, manual can opener, a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit, and prescription medications. Also, keep extra blankets handy and a good stock of food and water. Fill sinks, jugs and bathtubs in case the water supply is cut off. Utility officials also caution folks to stay away from downed power lines, which can be deadly.

"You never know that the line may still be active, could still be hot," KUB spokeswoman Jennifer Fern said.

Utility officials also recommend that with low temperatures, leave your faucets dripping and your sink cabinet doors open to keep water pipes from freezing. Meantime, road crews are on-call and ready to salt or scrape the roads when needed.