Radio/TV Public Service Announcements: Winter Storm Recovery

Note to News Media: The following public service announcements are being provided to media for use in getting information out to the public on important health and safety measures as they respond to the ice storm that has left thousands without power in the capital district.

Carbon Monoxide

If you use a fireplace, wood stove, or portable kerosene heater to stay warm, be sure there is adequate ventilation to the outside. Without enough fresh air, carbon monoxide fumes can build up in your home. Never use a natural gas or propane stove/oven to heat your home. If you are using a kerosene heater, use 1-K grade kerosene only. Never substitute with fuel oil, diesel, gasoline or regular kerosene. Open a window to provide ventilation when a portable kerosene heater is in use to reduce carbon monoxide fumes inside the home. If you plan to cook on a barbeque grill or camp stove, remember these also produce carbon monoxide and are for outdoor use only.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

If you are using an alternate hearing source to stay warm you need to recognize the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be deadly. Initial symptoms can be mistaken for flu symptoms. Watch for headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, loss of muscle control, shortness of breath, chest tightness, visual changes, sleepiness, fluttering of the heart, redness of the skin, and confusion and mild behavioral effects such as slowed reaction time and altered driving skills. Carbon monoxide poisoning should be suspected if more than one member of the family is sick and if they feel better after being away from home for a period of time. Don't take chances. At high levels, or with continued exposure carbon monoxide can cause brain damage or even death.

Generator Safety

Never run a generator inside your home, basement or attached garage. Generators should only be operated outside, away from open windows. Carbon monoxide in the generator's fumes can build up and cause carbon monoxide poisoning, which can lead to death. Do not exceed the rated capacity of your generator. Overloading your generator can damage it and any appliances connected to it. Fire may result. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions. Fuel spilled on a hot generator can cause an explosion. If your generator has a detachable fuel tank, remove it before refilling. If this is not possible, shut off the generator and let it cool before refilling.

Fire Safety

When adding fuel to a space heater, or wood to a wood stove or fireplace, wear non-flammable gloves and clothing. Never add fuel to a space heater when it is hot. The fuel can ignite, burning you and your home. Keep the heater away from objects that can burn, such as furniture, rugs or curtains. If you have a fire extinguisher, keep it nearby. Be careful with candles - never leave them burning if you leave the room. Keep children away from space heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves to avoid accidental burns.

Chain Saw Safety

Before using a chain saw to clear downed tree limbs, know how to safeguard against injury. Always operate, adjust, and maintain the saw according to manufacturer's instructions provided in the manual accompanying the chain saw. Make sure the blade is properly sharpened and lubricated. Wear appropriate protective equipment including hard hat, safety glasses, hearing protection, heavy work gloves, cut-resistant leg-wear and boots which cover the ankle. Always cut at waist level or below. Avoid contact with power lines and keep bystanders at a safe distance.

Going to a Shelter

If you have to leave your home and go to an emergency shelter, be sure to take prescription and over-the-counter medication you use regularly with you! take along any special supplies such as diapers, baby food, and elder care items that you will need. Have some cash on hand - if the power is off, many ATM machines won't be available. Stay tuned to this station for more information.