Generation Preps For Winter

November 23, 2021

Winter doesn’t officially start until Dec. 21. But workers at FirstEnergy’s regulated generating plants began preparing for the season long before the leaves started falling.

Facilities have buzzed with activity since early September, with a number of significant enhancements focusing on reliability and efficiency.

FirstEnergy has a cold-weather checklist that includes insulating pipes, setting up heaters, and building plastic windscreens and tents to protect employees and critical pieces of equipment from frigid wind and temperatures.

Generation Senior Safety Consultant Brad McPherson noted that preparing to work in winter weather can present some different challenges. “For example, when we’re placing heaters inside enclosures, it’s critical to monitor the air quality in the room. Carbon monoxide is a hazard that can turn deadly if left unchecked.”

Generation employees also focus on the potential environmental consequences of cold weather.

“Ensuring safe and environmentally compliant operations during winter includes heat tracing or putting heaters in place to prevent the possibility of pipes freezing and bursting, which could result in an environmental incident,” said Environmental Director Dave Frederick. Winter environmental awareness also calls for making sure ice and snow don’t collect in areas where it can compromise containments, and regularly draining and flushing infrequently used pipes and tanks to guard against issues.

According to Generation Services Director Doug Hartman, the change of season is a good time for all of us to think about personal safety and the space around us – both on and off the job.

“We should pause and consider the changing conditions around us,” said Doug. “It gets darker earlier and frost can form overnight. We need to recognize that roads might be icy while driving into work and that walkways could be slippery at company facilities. Awareness is the key.