The Red Cross issued the following statement with advice about staying safe during the power outages after the storm:
For those using generators, the Red Cross offers the following tips:
- DO NOT operate a generator inside homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces, sheds, or other partially-enclosed spaces even if using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation. Carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these spaces and can linger for hours, even after the generator is shut down.
- Operate the equipment ONLY outside and far from windows, doors and vents to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide gas from accumulating and potentially being drawn towards occupied spaces.
- ALWAYS place a portable generator downwind and point the engine exhaust away from occupied spaces.
- Shut down the generator when refueling. Always refuel the generator outside your home, garage or shed.
- Always read and follow the equipment Operator’s Manual before use.
- Engine exhaust contains carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that could kill you in minutes. You cannot smell it, see it or taste it. Even if you do not smell exhaust fumes, you could still be exposed to carbon monoxide gas.
- Install battery-operated carbon monoxide alarms or plug-in carbon monoxide alarms with battery back-up according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Smoke alarms do not detect carbon monoxide gas.
- If you start to feel sick, dizzy or weak while using the portable generator, shut it off and get to fresh air RIGHT AWAY. See a doctor. You may have carbon monoxide poisoning.
The Red Cross also advises caution when clearing snow around your home.
- Dress in layers so you can adjust clothes as you work.
- Don’t fully load your shovel; take smaller “bites” of the snow and use your legs and arms to lift, not your back.
- Take breaks when shoveling. Don’t work to the point of exhaustion. Cold and intense exercise can be dangerous.
- If using a snow blower, keep the exhaust chute directed away from any people or pets nearby.
- If the snow blower becomes clogged, shut it down and work to clear the clog with a shovel handle or stick; NEVER place your hands in or near the chute or auger.
To stay safe in power outages, the Red Cross recommends the following:
- Use battery operated flashlights or lanterns to light your way; candles are a fire risk.
- Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics.
- Turn off or disconnect any appliances (like stoves), equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
- Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.
American Red Cross spokesperson Paul Shipman urged people to stay tuned to local media for updates on weather, travel restrictions and government advisories.
He also suggested that people check on neighbors. “If you have elderly neighbors or neighbors who might need a little extra help, please check on them to make sure they are weathering the storm.”