Matt Laible, City of Minneapolis, 612-673-2786
Dawn Sommers, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, 612-221-9155
Make sure your friends and neighbors without power are staying safe in the heat
If you lost power, take precautions with food in your refrigerator or freezer and know what’s safe to eat
June 24, 2013 (MINNEAPOLIS) Because many homes in Minneapolis still do not have power following last Friday’s storms, there are several ways you and your neighbors can stay safe in the heat. With temperatures in the 80s and 90s, please check in with any neighbors to see if they need any help, especially if they are elderly or may need assistance. Also, it’s important to think about food safety if your home has been without power since Friday.
Be heat smart
Weather forecasts indicate that we may see several days with temperatures reaching 90 degrees or above. It is important for folks to take steps to keep cool - particularly for those who still do not have power in Minneapolis. Here are a few things you can do:
- Spend time in air-conditioned buildings and avoid direct sunlight if possible. You can find a list of air conditioned public buildings here.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing;
- Take cool showers or baths;
- Avoid using the stove or oven to cook;
- Drink more water than usual and remind others to do the same;
- Check on friends, family and neighbors twice a day.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has helpful guidelines for food safety during power outages:
If the power is out for longer than four hours, follow the guidelines below:
- For your freezer: A freezer that is half full will hold food safely for up to 24 hours. A full freezer will hold food safely for 48 hours. Do not open the freezer door if you can avoid it.
- For your refrigerator: Pack milk, other dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, gravy, and spoilable leftovers into a cooler surrounded by ice. Inexpensive styrofoam coolers are fine for this purpose.
- Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of your food right before you cook or eat it. Throw away any food that has a temperature of more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can find more information from the CDC.
As of Monday morning, the majority of traffic signals that had lost power are up and running again. About 25 traffic signals are still without power in the city, primarily in south Minneapolis east of I-35W and in Northeast, primarily along Johnson Street. As power is restored to traffic signals, some of them enter a flashing red mode. Crews are going to each intersection to re-set the signals into normal operation. In the meantime, treat the flashing red lights as stop signs, as usual. It’s important for drivers to remember that if the signal at an intersection is not working, treat the intersection as a four-way stop.
Extra traffic control agents were on duty during the morning rush hour to help manage traffic, and agents will be out as needed for the evening rush hour as well.
The Park Board’s top priority has been clearing downed trees from the streets, with assistance from City crews. The crews cleared hundreds of trees from city streets over the weekend. On Monday morning, there are only about a half dozen streets that remain blocked, due to trees with power lines entangled in them. Once Xcel Energy crews remove the power lines from these locations, the trees will be removed and the streets cleared.
After city streets are clear, the Park Board’s second priority for tree removal is the removal of boulevard trees from homes, garages and other structures. The Park Board’s third tree priority is to evaluate and remove boulevard trees that pose a potential hazard of toppling due to storm damage or soil saturation. The Park Board’s fourth priority is removal of trees and tree debris from parks.
Resident tree debris drop-off June 24-29
Minneapolis residents may bring yard tree debris to two locations, one in North Minneapolis and one in Fort Snelling, between June 24 and 29 for hauling and processing by the Park Board.
- Metro Wood Recycling Site: 33rd Avenue North and 2nd Street North
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday
- Fort Snelling Site: 6200 Bloomington Rd., Fort Snelling (adjacent to the Park Board’s Fort Snelling Golf Course)
7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday
These sites will discontinue accepting public tree debris at Noon on Saturday, June 29.
Please note, this service is for Minneapolis residents clearing their property of tree debris after storm damage only—it is not for contractors doing work for property owners or for regular tree pruning. It is only for tree debris, not construction or other materials.
Curbside tree debris collection July 1-12
Park Board crews will collect tree debris that can be brought to the boulevard beginning July 1 through July 12 for properties affected by the storm. This service is for property owners clearing their property of tree debris after storm damage only—it is not for contractors doing work for property owners or for regular tree pruning. It is only for tree debris, not construction or other materials.
Here's how residents in the area can prepare downed trees and branches for collection:
- Move larger limbs, branches, and trunks to the boulevard area in front of your house. Park Board crews will pick up and dispose of these items at no charge.
- Property owners adjacent to tree debris placed on the boulevard are asked not to park vehicles near the debris, to help crews in the removal process. “No parking” signs may be posted and enforced to facilitate the cleanup operation.
Regular yard waste collection for smaller branches
Residents with small branches and pieces of brush can use the regular weekly Solid Waste & Recycling yard waste collection service to have them picked up. Crews will pick up bundles of brush and small branches that are less than three inches in diameter and less than three feet long. Here's how to get them ready for pickup:
· Bundle them securely with twine or rope. Do not use wire.
· Each bundle must be less than 3 feet long.
· Each bundle must weigh less than 40 pounds.
Make sure to have the bundles of yard waste at your alley or curb line, next to the garbage cart, by 6 a.m. on your garbage day.
Since there are so many downed trees in yards throughout the city, many residents will be looking for a contractor to take care of the problem. It’s important to make sure the tree company you use is licensed, because unlicensed companies may not be insured for damage they might cause to your property, and their workers may not be properly trained to protect themselves and your property from damage. Here are some things residents should know when choosing a tree company:
- To find out if a tree service contractor is licensed in Minneapolis, look at this list on the City’s website.
- A licensed contractor must submit a copy of a written estimate to the property owner for approval prior to any work to be performed.
- Licensed Tree Service contractors have marked vehicles and display a City of Minneapolis license decal.
- Licensed Tree Service contractors maintain insurance in the event of damage to your property, your neighbors’ property, or if anyone is injured on the job site.
Published Jun. 24, 2013