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MEMA Home > Programs> Communication> News > Important Storm and Power Outage Safety Information

Important Storm and Power Outage Safety Information


December 12, 2008

9:30 AM


AUGUSTA, MAINE—Over 100,000 homes and business are out of power this morning, and restoration will likely extend into the weekend. In addition, many roads are closed across the state due to icy conditions and downed lines.

Important phone numbers and web sites:

  • Urgent emergency assistance: Dial 911
  • Open shelters and other safety and health information: Dial 211
  • Report power outages: Your electrical utility
  • Road conditions: Dial 511 or visit
  • Safety and preparedness information, and links to weather forecasts:

Mainers are reminded to:

  • 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 driving if at all possible. If you must drive, exercise extreme caution. Respect all barricades marking closed roads.
  • Check on neighbors, family and friends to make sure they are staying warm and safe.

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.



Lynette Miller


Last update: 07/20/10