The American Red Cross is operating shelters in seven states after the weekend Nor’easter which dumped heavy, wet snow from Maryland to Maine, leaving millions without power.
Almost 1,300 people spent Sunday night in shelters in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Red Cross workers are offering a warm place to stay and hot meals to those affected by the snowstorm. More than three million homes and businesses are still without power and officials say it could be as long as a week until electricity is back on in some areas.
Many people are resorting to the use of generators to restore some power to their homes. The Red Cross has steps people should take to use these generators safely. For instance, connect the equipment to be powered directly to the outlets on the generator, Do not connect a portable generator to the home’s electrical system. Other safety tips include:
- When purchasing a generator, get advice from a professional such as electrician. Make sure the generator is rated for the power needed.
- The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating or cooking are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire.
- Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area.
- Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
- Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
- If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door.
- Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.
Warm temperatures are returning to many areas, quickly melting the snow. But schools and businesses remain closed as the power outages continue. Those affected can visit www.redcross.org for more information on what to do in their neighborhood until electricity is returned; how to keep their food safe; what to do with electrical equipment and more.