Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Montana is being enveloped in the first real cold snap of the winter season, and nothing is more important than keeping individuals and families safe as the temperatures plunge well below zero.

KGVO News reached out to JoDee Black, Public Information Officer with Northwestern Energy, as well as Kelsey Lodge with Missoula Electric Co-op about how to keep warm, and what to do in case of a power outage.

Advice from Northwestern Energy during this First Cold Snap of the Winter

“Northwestern Energy prepares throughout the year for events including extreme temperatures and winter storms, we are prepared,” began Black. “Our crews are prepared. We have equipment and crews in place to respond quickly as needed. But it's also good for all of us as community members to also be prepared and now's the time to do it before the storm hits and before the severe weather is on us.”

In case of an outage, Black has some simple and sensible advice for homeowners.

“Some of the things that you can do are to make sure your electronic devices are fully charged,” she began, “Prepare an emergency outage kit for your home. Keep necessary food, medicine, and other supplies on hand including batteries for flashlights in case you were to experience an electric outage. We have a lot of tips and resources on our website at Northwestern energy.com.”

With the recent rate hike granted to Northwestern Energy, Black acknowledged that many families are experiencing difficulties in paying their power bills.

Get our free mobile app

There is Help Available with Power Bills for Low Income Families

“We really encourage customers to apply for the state LIHEAP program, the low income energy assistance home funding, and that enrollment is still open. We have information about that program on our website and people can also call our customer service center or come into one of our walk-in centers and speak with a customer associate. They would be happy to provide referrals for more information about that program and how to apply for it.”

In case of a power outage, call 888-467-2669 in Montana

Outside Missoula, KGVO also spoke to Kelsey Lodge with Missoula Electric Co-op about the health of its power grid.

Missoula Electric Co-op is Also Prepared for the Cold Snap

“The health of our grid is great, but as you know, going into the cold snap this weekend, it's always something that we're keeping our eyes on because people will be using their power more so our team is alert and we are prepared for potential low growth,” began Lodge.

Like Northwestern Energy, Lodge said the co-op has an online outage map to let customers know what parts of the system are affected in case the power goes out.

“We have an outage map that's updated and current on our website,” she said. “That will be updated automatically as power is going out or coming back on. Again the 24-hour dispatch is available at 406-541-4433, and we also offer Facebook and text and email notifications as the power goes out.”

Like Black with Northwestern Energy, Lodge had helpful advice for customers if the power goes out.

“If you have products in your fridge or your freezers, keep those doors closed as much as possible because the food will stay good for a little while and they will stay in better shape,” she said. Also, check with local officials if we are out of power for more than 24 hours and you need a place to go."

Click here for more details about Missoula Electric Co-op.

LOOK: Highest-paying jobs in Missoula

Stacker compiled the highest paying jobs in Missoula, MT using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

More From Newstalk KGVO 1290 AM & 98.3 FM