A heavy, wet snow has blanketed much of Maine, knocking down tree limbs, taking down power lines and leaving many residents without power. While coping without power the Bangor Fire Department recommends you do the following:
• If you use a generator do not bring it inside the home or an attached garage. Each year there are many reported deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by people who set up their generator inside the home. Generators should be located outside of the home.
• When using a generator it is important to not overload the generator and use heavy duty extension cords when necessary. Gasoline for the generator should also be stored outside and the generator should be shut off while refueling.
• For the safety of electrical line workers you should not connect the generator directly to the home’s wiring or “backfeed” it into an outlet.
• Do not use charcoal or propane-fueled BBQ grills to warm the home. These appliances will also produce carbon monoxide.
• If you need light, battery-powered lanterns and flashlights are safer than candles. If you do use candles for light, extinguish the candle when you leave the room. Do not leave it unattended.
• To keep warm you may use electric space heaters hooked up to the generator. In general, these space heaters need approximately 3-feet of space around them to be safe.
• If you are using a rarely used woodstove or fireplace, make sure it is in working order before use. Do not attempt to light a fire with flammable fuels, such as gasoline. Use seasoned wood whenever possible.
• In an extended power loss you might worry about food safety. A closed refrigerator will keep food cool for up to 4 hours, while a full freezer can keep food frozen for up to 48 hours.
For more safety tips or information on keeping warm please contact your local Fire Department or the Bangor Fire Department.