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MEMA Home > Programs> Communication> News > Safety Urged as Power is Restored

Safety Urged as Power is Restored


November 26, 2008


With power outages affecting many areas of the state, and some roads still closed due to flooding and downed trees, safety precautions are urged.

"The Governor has declared a State of Emergency to assist in the power restoration process," MEMA Director Rob McAleer said. "We can all make sure that we and our family and friends stay safe by observing safety precautions."

  • Stay clear of downed power lines, and report them to your local electrical utility.
  • Use generators and alternative heat sources carefully, in accordance with manufacturers' instructions. Carbon monoxide poisoning can result by using these appliances in enclosed spaces. Detailed safety information from the Maine CDC on carbon monoxide poisoning follows.
  • Avoid all flooded roadways. Respect all barricades, and report any unmarked flooded or damaged roads to local authorities.

"A lot of folks are without power following this storm," McAleer said. "If everything is okay at your house, check on neighbors, family and friends to make sure they are staying warm safely."

Carbon Monoxide Safety information from the MaineCDC:

Maine citizens should be very careful using gas-powered generators, kerosene heaters or other heating or power sources during power outages. If not used safely, they can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas formed when burning most types of fuels. Using gas-powered generators, kerosene heaters, charcoal grills, and gas grills can cause poisoning if CO gas builds-up in closed in spaces. Warning signs of CO poisoning are flu symptoms like headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, and confusion, but without a fever. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause coma and death. Every year, more than 500 people die in the U.S. due to CO poisoning.

How To Prevent CO Poisoning During Power Outages:

  • Place generator outdoors in the fresh air. Keep it away from windows or doors. Do not put a generator in a closed or partly closed space, like a basement, cellar bulkhead, or attached garage. Carbon monoxide can build up to dangerous levels in these spaces.
  • Use kerosene heaters in a well ventilated room. Keep doors to other rooms open or keep a window open at least 1 inch. Use only K-1 grade fuel in kerosene heaters. Read the directions for setting the wick height.
  • Do not use outdoor cooking devices indoors like gas or charcoal grills, gas camp stoves.
  • Do not use gas appliances like ranges, ovens, or clothes dryers for heating your home.
  • Always turn off your vehicle in a garage.
  • Place a carbon monoxide detector that is battery powered (or has battery back-up power) in the hallway outside each sleeping area. Be sure Underwriters Laboratory certifies the CO detector. Look for the UL mark with the "Single Station Carbon Monoxide Alarm" statement. CO detectors are in most stores.

If You Suspect CO Poisoning:

If you or anyone in the home thinks you are being poisoned by carbon monoxide:

  • Leave the house at once.
  • Call the fire department or 911.
  • Get medical attention. Call the Poison Center (1-800-222-1222) or your doctor after you leave the house.
  • Do not go back into the building until the fire department tells you it is safe.





Last update: 07/20/10