Safety Tips for After the Storm

The snow is moving out of the state, but the high piles of snow will be here for a while and there are some precautions to take for your own safety.

One of the most important things you can do is to clear out any heating and appliance vents that are located on the side of your home to prevent  carbon monoxide build up, according to emergency officials in Farmington.

The state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection warns residents never to use portable generators indoors, in basements, garages or close to a home. The exhaust from generators contains high levels of carbon monoxide greater than that of multiple cars running in a garage, which can quickly incapacitate and kill.

Keep generators outside and far away from windows, doors and vents. Read both the label on your generator and the owner's manual and follow the instructions. Any electrical cables you use with the generator should be free of damage and suitable for outdoor use.

The U.S. Fire Administration
says you should keep the generator dry. Operate on a dry surface under an open, canopy- like structure.

Dry your hands before touching the generator.

Plug appliances directly into generator or use a heavy-duty outdoor- rated extension cord. Make sure the entire extension cord is free of cuts or tears and the plug has all 3 prongs, especially a grounding pin.

Never plug the generator into a wall outlet. This practice, known as backfeeding, can cause an electrocution risk to utility workers and others served by the same utility transformer.

If necessary to connect generator to house wiring to power appliances, have a qualified electrician install appropriate equipment. Or, your utility company may be able to install an appropriate transfer switch.

Before refueling the generator, turn it off and let it cool. Fuel spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.

Always store fuel outside of living areas in properly labeled, non-glass containers.

Store fuel away from any fuel-burning appliance.

Do not refill them with gasoline when they are hot, or you could start a fire.

Never use charcoal grills or camp stoves indoors. Deaths have occurred when residents burned charcoal or used camp stoves in enclosed spaces, which produced lethal levels of carbon monoxide.

Stay away from any downed wires, including cable TV feeds.

Natural gas or propane valves that have been under water should be replaced. Smell and listen for leaky gas connections. If you believe there is a gas leak, immediately leave the house, leave the door(s) open, and call 911. Never strike a match. Any size flame can spark an explosion. Before turning the gas back on, have the gas system checked by a professional.

Use caution with candles. If possible, use flashlights instead. If you must use candles, do not burn them on or near anything that can catch fire. Never leave burning candles unattended. Extinguish candles when you leave the room.

Residents are also encouraged to remain home and off the roads so that crews can plow as quickly as possible.

As you clean up, do not clean snow from your property into the street.

While shoveling, don’t over exert yourself and take frequent breaks and rest.

If you snowblower gets clogged, turn it off and use a long stick to clear it. Never place your hand in any part of the snowblower.

The fire department asks that you clear the snow around fire hydrants so the fire department can access them in an emergency.

If your mail box is covered by snow,  clear any street address from it for the easier location of your property by emergency crews.

Check on your neighbors, especially the elderly.

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