NEW HAMPSHIRE DEPARTMENT OF SAFETY
CONCORD, NH – As temperatures drop to 25 below along the coast and 40 below in the mountains tonight, State Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) and the State Fire Marshal’s Office encourage residents to take action now to protect life and property.
“It’s important for individuals to know how to protect themselves and prevent damage to property,” HSEM Director Perry Plummer said. “Taking a few preventative actions now can avoid a costly emergency later.”
Officials offered the following recommendations for personal protection:
The extreme cold creates a danger of frostbite and hypothermia. Be sure to dress in warm layers and stay hydrated.
Signs of frostbite include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.
Signs of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, get the individual to a warm location, remove any damp or wet clothing, and put the person in dry clothing and wrap their entire body in a blanket. It is important to warm the center of the body first. If the person is conscious, give them warm, non-alcoholic or non-decaffeinated beverages. Seek medical help as soon as possible.
Walk carefully on snowy, icy, walkways.
Use caution not to over exert yourself when shoveling snow.
Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs from extremely cold air.
Check on neighbors who may need assistance.
Officials offered the following recommendations for protection of property:
With high winds, residents should prepare for the possibility of a power outage by keeping heat at 70 and continuing to charge phones and devices.
Keep pipes from freezing by wrapping them in insulation, heat tape or layers of old newspapers. Cover the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture and let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing.
Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts. If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipes in rags.
Close off unneeded rooms, stuff towels or rags in the cracks under doors and cover windows at night.
Stay aware of your situation by watching television, listening to the radio and signing up for NH Alerts and downloading the NH Alerts app at readynh.gov.
Portable generators are convenient to have when winter storms hit, Plummer said. However, improper usage can lead to fires, carbon monoxide poisoning and electrocution, he said. For your own safety and the safety of the line crews attempting to restore power, please follow these guidelines:
Place portable generators outside and at least 10 feet from any structure with the exhaust facing away from building openings. Carbon monoxide and other hazardous exhaust fumes can enter a building through any opening and can accumulate to lethal levels in minutes.
Place generators away from combustibles including decks, porches, garages and sheds. A hot generator and spilled or vaporized fuel can start a fire. Also, let the generator cool before refueling.
Make all connections to and from the generator before starting the generator. Making connections after the generator is running can cause a shock or electrocution.
Store fuel in approved containers and keep the containers a safe distance away from generators and out of basements and enclosed dwelling areas.
Operate generators according to manufacturers’ recommendations and do not modify the generator or cords used to connect appliances.
Directly connecting a generator to an electrical outlet or panelboard without proper safety devices like a transfer switch or interlocking device can cause fires and electrocution. Energy from the generator that back feeds into your meter or utility wires can seriously injure or kill utility workers.