Power Outage Safety Tips From Bangor Fire Department
The Bangor Fire Department is offering some tips on avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning in cold weather and staying safe during power outages.
2017 came in like a lion, with snow, ice, cold temperatures, and plenty of power outages. So the Bangor Fire Department is reminding everyone of a few safety tips that could help you avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, and possibly even losses due to fire.
Generators are great for providing power and keeping your house warm. But remember, they should always be operated outside. Even a garage with the windows and doors open will trap lethal fumes, so keep the generator in the open. Store the gasoline outside and always shut the generator off before filling the tank. Don't overload the generator and use heavy-duty extension cords. Finally, always have your generator installed by a licensed electrician to avoid fires and/or back-feed on line workers.
This is pretty self-explanatory. While it may seem like a smart idea to bring the charcoal or gas grill into the house when the power's out, it really isn't. Charcoal and propane-fueled grills produce carbon monoxide, so would be dangerous to use in an enclosed space. Again, even opening the windows and doors won't provide enough ventilation. Plus, they get extremely hot and have open flames, so may end up starting a fire.
When dealing with the darkness of a power outage, Bangor Fire advises using battery-powered flashlights and lanterns rather than candles. A battery-powered lantern is pretty affordable and can put off a lot of consistent light. Plus, flashlights will enable you to safely find your way to the bathroom or to bed. Candles, on the other hand, pose a risk of fire, especially when being carried from room to room. If you must use candles, be sure to extinguish them when leaving the room and never leave them unattended.
Space heaters are a great way to warm a small area, whether you're having a power outage, or just because you tend to be chilly when others aren't. But you need to be safe when using them. So keep about 3-feet of clearance on all sides of the heater when it's operational. The heat generated on all sides of the unit has the potential to start fires. In the case of an outage, it's possible to plug them into generators, as long as you don't overload the system.
Having a fireplace or wood stove in a power outage is a huge plus. But, before the power goes out, make sure all of these heat sources are working properly and your chimney is clean. Fires should never be lit by using gasoline or other propellants. And be sure you're using seasoned wood. Of course, it's also important to have working smoke and CO detectors in the house at all times, so you can be alerted to trouble in time to get out of the house.
It's always a little scary trusting your food after a power outage. How long can it stay in their before it goes bad? Well, the Bangor Fire Department says food should stay cool in a closed refrigerator for up to 4 hours. After that, it's probably best to throw it out. And a full freezer can keep food frozen for up to 48 hours. For more safety tips, contact your local fire department.