Editorial, Nov. 2, 2017

Nov 02, 2017

Safety during and after storms

The area is still recovering from the severe wind and rain storm that hit Monday morning and it seems a good time to offer a reminder about safety during power outages.

CMP reported this storm surpassed the outage numbers from the ice storm of 1998, which were about 340,000.

CMP offers customers the following tips to stay safe and comfortable if power outages do occur.


  • When using an emergency heating source, like a wood stove, fireplace or kerosene heater, keep fuels away from the flames and be sure to ventilate properly.
  • Never use grills or camp stoves indoors — they can give off dangerous gases.
  • Keep refrigerators and freezers closed as much as possible. Most food will last 24 hours or longer if you minimize the opening of refrigerator and freezer doors.
  • Hire a licensed electrician to install permanent generators and transfer switches.
  • Properly ground all portable generators.
  • Never run a generator indoors, or even in an open garage.
  • If your carbon monoxide detector goes off — get out of the building immediately and call 911.
  • Do not store fuel indoors or try to refuel a generator while it’s running.
  • Turn on appliances and sensitive electronic equipment one at a time to avoid overloading circuits.
  • If a basement or home was flooded, have an electrician check the home before contacting CMP to have services turned on.



The storm highlights the need for advance preparation. Here are a few tips from the American Red Cross relating to wind and thunder storms:


  • Discuss storm safety and lightning safety with all members of your household.
  • Pick a safe place in your home to gather during a storm, away from windows, skylights and glass doors that could be broken by strong winds or hail.
  • Make a list of items to bring inside.
  • Make trees and shrubbery more wind-resistant by keeping them trimmed and removing damaged branches.
  • Protect your animals by ensuring that any outside buildings are protected.
  • Keep a flashlight with extra batteries; portable, battery-powered radio; first aid kit; nonperishable, ready-to-eat food items; bottled water; and games in a designated place where they will be easy to find and use during a lengthy storm outage.
  • In the aftermath of a storm, remember:
  • Never drive through a flooded roadway. You cannot predict how deep the water might be.
  • Stay away from storm-damaged areas to keep from putting yourself at risk from the effects of severe thunderstorms.
  • Continue to listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or to local radio and television stations for updated information or instructions, as access to roads or some parts of the community may be blocked.
  • Help people who may require special assistance, such as infants, children and the elderly or disabled.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately.
  • Watch your animals closely during thunderstorms. Keep them under your direct control.



WEMA: A convenient resource

Locally, did you know that you can sign up for text alerts from Waldo County Emergency Management Agency? Just go to waldocountyme.gov/ema and scroll to the bottom of the page.

During and after the storm this week, WEMA provided helpful updates on power outages, road closures, shelter and warming centers, and transportation to those safe havens.

In other emergencies, WEMA also provides weather updates and advises subscribers about evacuations, sheltering in place, mass feeding sites, and other news of interest or importance to residents. For example, on Tuesday, WEMA recommended calling your local gas station before going to fill up, as stations without electrical power cannot pump gasoline.

For more information, contact EMA by phone at 338-3870 or by email at emadirector@waldocountyme.gov.

You can also visit the Waldo County Emergency Management Agency website at waldocountyme.gov/ema or write or visit the office at 4 Public Safety Way, Belfast.


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